Gingerbread House Lit Mag

Do Not Wake Me, Take Me Up

River water strong            like God’s hands
holding fast         to my bones,
clasped                   around
Achilles tendon: an anklet
turned ball-and-chain.
Slight as dirt under rugs, I am swept
headlong               into watery basement
where direction is myth.                 Up is down
is up is down
and soot coats the walls
of my throat                         mosquitos
on flypaper.
With each             inhale
shards of bottleglass perforate
my lungs—
remnants               of beer bottle skeletons
tossed overboard
a few kayak summers ago.
Not knowing which way is up
is down is up
I sink with eyes shut tight.
Time is up.
When my eyes open again
I am in my bedroom,
lungs filled with air
and the bitter taste
of the tail              of a prayer
behind my teeth.

Abi Jo Shoaff

Abi Jo Shoaff is a writer and storyteller whose poetry, essays, and stories incorporate themes of nature, music, sexuality, and the emotions and scenarios of day-to-day life. Recently, her original play “Campfire Counseling” was performed at the Malone Shorts Festival at Malone University in Canton, Ohio. Abi Jo hopes her writing will stir imaginations and prompt readers to dive more deeply into their surroundings.

Artwork: Brooke Shaden

This entry was published on October 31, 2022 at 12:02 am and is filed under 53 (October 2022), Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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