Be Still in the Water

Shade. Shadowflicker on skin.

Fingers first. Then the palm, the wrist a knob, spin like a top.

In my dream, the room is dark. I stand in the corner, facing the walls.

I look down at my hands and watch them disappear.

To feel the world is to pass through first. My mind is a wave, calculating its demise, the hit on the shore, working its way backwards.

I live in two realities, one where I have written this sentence and the one after that and the one after that, the world spinning, spinning, a syntax of eternity.

And the other more mundane existence where I am still writing this word.

The body: stretched out, engaged in a contact imbalance of time, flitting between what it is and what you think it is.

Only a message carried through space, sung by the stones of the earth.

Hold your breath, hover over its deep pockets, wait for it to break.

We are in a forest now, waiting for the sound of our voices, which call to us from someplace else.

I linger over a fractured tree and place flowers in my mouth, one by one.

To think, only to realise I cannot hear my thoughts.

The body as a pipe, through which we pass, holding nothing. I have never been so terrified.

In the disappearing world, the present self- a landscape of stillness.

These moments, I cease to exist as one whole, or as a whole at all.

I become something abstract, only a shape that occurs again and again, no matter how many times it is cut.

The body: a vessel held tight, unbroken, carried through time. Look closely: see my fingerprints, wrapped around the sides, nails dug in for the staying.

There. There. Gone.

In my dream, there is a drain fixed to the shower wall and a clump of hair stuck to it, spinning into itself. Every turn pulses it into something more. A heave of knitting.

A proposition:

The body as an explanation, something to be placed inside a name and left. Bottomless number from simple rules repeated without end, the sum of which will equal one.

See: Heartbeat, eyeblink, skinitch, songbreath, gutroll, brainspark, heartbreak, eyetwitch- how can I explain?

So much lost in the gap between the tongue and the lip.

At my funeral, the priest offers me a stranger’s body. Take it, he says, with a kindness in his eyes. I wake in a sweat.

Hold out your hands, check for signs of damage before circling back.

The body as a room, something to be stayed in.

Be still in the water. Be still.

Photo by Mario Dobelmann on Unsplash

To read these pieces in your inbox each week, enter your email in the comments below or let me know at

Recent Posts

See All


  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • goodreads-512
  • images_edited_edited