Breath in the Marsh by Joseph Dante

The calamus rises as the sun dips below the marsh water. I look for trails of ripples, afraid of creatures that may bite, sting, or devour us. Born under grey, whistling skies, I’ve never been so hot. Our clothes cling to us. Your gloves touch my slick back, reach under the green murkiness. I agreed to meet here because of those hands, the hands that have cut cartilage, sawed cherrywood, stitched skin. The hands that have both wrangled and sewed. These hands are your sixth sense and they are my armor. You lead me on with them. We’re waist in now and I think of drowning. I think of an undertow with mezzanines of teeth. I think of thorny tendrils. There’s breathing around us, lungs that aren’t ours. Breathing that asks for our air, that needs our space. You continue to lead. Are we searching for the heart or the maw? When everything becomes transparent, we dive.

Joseph Dante is a writer and editor from South Florida. His work has been featured in Permafrost, South Florida Poetry Journal, PANK, Corium, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for the 2016 Lascaux Prize for Poetry.