Samantha Deal

When Matthew Walks into the Atlantic

Listen to Samantha Deal read her piece:

What I want to know is how the water pulls
into itself—how it peels the sandy earth away in layers.

And how would it feel to swallow the half-moon curve of his ankle
but then let go?         Each arched foot’s slow sweep leaves a print—

a ring in the bone like a bow’s long drag across cello strings.

Imagine—your chest could be white, could be an empty room
for him to fill with everything he owns.

You know, they’re made from uncurled gut—the strings.

The first time I saw the ocean, I was afraid
of how it kept on going. Is it even possible to love

too much? Door hinges, ligaments, screws, sinew—
I am terrified of everything between where I am

and where I’m going to be. Imagine—I’m fascinated by the word
withdraw—doesn’t it sound exactly           like what it is?

Samantha Deal grew up in Boone, North Carolina, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with honors in creative writing. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Cold Mountain Review, Inkwell, Ninth Letter, and The North Carolina Literary Review, where she was a finalist for the 2012 James Applewhite Poetry Prize. Currently, Samantha works as a graduate teaching assistant at UNC Wilmington, where she is pursuing her MFA in poetry.