Sink and Drift | Ruth Foley

$ 7.00

Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears in numerous web and print journals, including Adroit, Sou’wester, andValparaiso Poetry Review. Her poems can also be found in several anthologies, including the Best Indie Lit New England anthology. She is the author of two other chapbooks,Dear Turquoise and Creature Feature, and the full-length collection Dead Man’s Float (forthcoming from ELJ). She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Bullet Fish

That year, I began sleeping like a shark
finned. I sank, discarded, into something
far away from morning. My trail shimmered
behind me as I torpedoed down—I didn't
know what it beckoned or who would
follow it. I was a submarine gone inert,
its crew unbreathing, their faces porcelain
as if they waited for the pin to drop. I was
the pin. I was an airplane cabin plummeting
wingless to the seabed. Plumes of silt would
lift when I landed, and I would welcome
their gust and bluster. I was ready to be centered
in a sand fountain, ready for someone to
make a wish. Shorn, I might have been
a bullet fish moving forward, only forward,
water freshening across my gills as I
came alive again, restored in the sluice of this
false current, waking in my sleep to brandish
what was missing. I thrashed the places
where my muscle used to be. Each exhaled
stream was my last breath before I found
the ocean floor, the silica settling around me
like winter's dust beaten out of a carpet,
unglimmered and wretched, and acknowledged
I was as useless as I would have been in air.