A Writer’s Seance, Ars Poetica

Photo of Sara in the Wind River Range, by Eliza Earle
by Sara Aranda

A woman’s story of sadness
brought you to its waters—
how she screamed like arrows
burrowing air.

Stain the walls with lichen
steep in the crimson alpenglow—
I dare you to dive in.

You do.
You find cold bodies down there.
And they look just like you.
It was really your story
all along

and you hate your words
when they collect
like dead fish on the floor,
how they might circulate currents,
lead swimmers astray
and you envision
them having drowned while grinding
their teeth
in places as simple
as a bed
because drowning
in the end
is all you know how to write.

You are the reason they’ve died
and yet you birth more anyway.

Maybe it was pity
instead of awe
when they smiled.
You drew a circle around yourself.
Wanted to vomit while holding
your breath there.

But the edge of water
is never sane
and the lichen needs stone structure
to feed on, turn to dust
and the sun must gather itself
before burning itself
into your skin, your memory

so you write
and bare your ribs
let your body rest
at the bottom, too,
test the longevity
of your lungs again—
except now you’re laughing
for fish and words—

you don’t gather them like beans
in the garden
you let them die and rebirth themselves,
grow webbed feet
for a seance to the moon.


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