The noise of an outboard motor,
a girl projected on the wall—the girl underwater.
Swimming is the first movement.
Fluid, the shallow valley. Meniscus.
The pond was full of leeches.
A no-trespassing sign half-torn from
its nail in a tree.
A sandal strap worn through
from dancing, the girl fraying
on the opposite wall, neon & salt.
Nude bodies sunbathing on another shore.
The bank not a bank but ledge,
a projection over water.
The dream would come later;
a sudden depth,
her moonlegs churning water,
my wet hot mouth sucked to her thigh.
The leeches like ribbons, the leeches like .
Lakeweed, plastic lawn furniture, ledge
and the girl dripping water.
The sunbathers rising like shorebirds.
From this distance—eight bare limbs and pubic hair.
I pulled our bodies from the water. Blood.
and something wet & soft
clinging to my thigh—it was her mouth
and it wasn’t.
Some nights still half-a-girl
gone swimming in the
something slipped out of me
I felt it breathing underwater.
The girl was a woman without a face;
all that remained was mouth,
the rest had been eaten by salt.
I thought it was the ugliest thing I ever saw.
Carolyn Orosz lives and writes in Northern California. She received her MFA from University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was managing editor for Devil’s Lake. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Sixth Finch, Southeast Review, Foundry, Nashville Review, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. She is a poetry reader for the Adroit Journal.