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Caroline Natzler

You lie in the bath these days,

quiet as driftwood

your long limbs dreaming,

fingers playing like seaweed over your flesh

over the lift of your stomach, waxen as a doll’s.

I watch how your breasts float, at home

in the water’s pale green billow

and I want to enfold you.

The stray ends of your hair are sucked with dark


Only your face—too red, little scratches and bumps

as if the water’s withdrawn

and left exposed the dry unease of land.

And though your eyes engage me

I know if I were to lift your fingers, the strands of

   your hair

to my mouth

they’d feel scratchy

smell faintly sour

and if I were to lean over and embrace you

your tail would lash me

heavy, scaley, spitting bubbles.


From Magma No 27 (Autumn 2003)