Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The thing had washed up on shore, a putrid mix
Of scale and bone and weeds and rot.

Shoshana poked it with a stick while I held back,
Afraid of death, which was still a tangible thing
In my eight-year old mind. Shoshana managed
To work her stick into its ribs, or, what I suppose
Must have been its ribs,
And waved her conquest like a flag.

“It’s not scary,” she told me, but I was never
A brave child—even now, I keep to corners
And walls, safe from everything that won’t hurt me.

I stayed where I was, up on dry sand, and I felt
The early prickle of burning skin on my neck and back,
And the sun shone off the ripples in the lake
Like diamonds, and I watched Shoshana
As the water lapped at her ankles and she fearlessly
Held death in her hands.

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