My mind’s choir is humming life back into my veins.
I step in the sea and give up my fear
of drowning. Angels sigh and beckon me further,
toward barnacled nails and briny skin.
Eyes, startled and clear,
absorb what it means to reflect, taking on others’ shapes
in my rippled flesh. I embrace the depths and bubbles
that rise quickly from my mouth
after confession. Blood turns to salt water, rushes
from head to chest to legs to toes. My skeletal frame changes
to coral, coarse yet fragile, cracking
and twisting into new homes for pulsating organs:
sea anemones breathing in the current,
kelp waving through the reef,
wrapping around muscles to tighten, thicken.
Pigment disappears in this translucency.
I become the act of swimming.
Melissa Adamo earned her BA in Literature from Ramapo College and her MFA in poetry from Rutgers-Newark University. She currently teaches literature and composition courses at both institutions. Her poetry has previously appeared and is forthcoming in Apple Valley Review and Per Contra, respectively. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in Plath Profiles, Able Muse, and Salem Press’ Critical Insights series.
Art Credit: Gustav Klimt, Water Serpents II (detail), c.1907