scaled head just above the surface shattered when shot by the bb gun a boy was teaching me not to use but to love. see? when he fired, i cried. shocked, concentric blood on water gellish, dingy, ringing.
shadow under a flipped boat, ringing with his laughter, hard shell above us, i laughed, too. the metal blood smell of that boat stays like a snapshot, something visible, real, 3-d, fired from inside, a violence not
easy to stop, to clock, to get. not bullet, not venomous light, not ringing leaves glimpsed from under a fired edge of rust. more like the boy above me, his skin hot, closed eyes lovely, shot through: lashes, freckles, veins, blood
running under his lids and mine, blood keeping us alive, combined we cannot be cold-scaled, frail, must give this a shot: to see forever, hear time bringing forth anything other than being above fear, young. the bristling world fired
iridescence up for us, fired off a memory the color of his blood inside him, submerged, safe, blue, not purple on the water. beauty ringing in the distance shot
in the dark, guess, can a trick shot hold us? he’s gone now, fired past this invisible, ringing future, where snake blood stays on the lake, scales explode, not sunk but sprayed into a halo above
the scene where I was (am) hidden, boat, blood present tense a taste, glint, skin of a snake not dead yet, nor alive, all over, under and above.
-- Rachel DeWoskin is the author of five critically acclaimed novels: Banshee; Someday We Will Fly; Blind; Big Girl Small, and Repeat After Me; and the memoir Foreign Babes in Beijing, about the years she spent in Beijing as the unlikely star of a Chinese soap opera. Her poetry collection Two Menus, is forthcoming in 2020 from the University of Chicago Press. DeWoskin has published essays, poems, reviews, and translations in magazines and journals including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times Magazine of London, Conde Nast Traveler, The Asian Wall Street Journal, The Far Eastern Economic Review, Agni, Ploughshares, The New Delta Review, The New Orleans Review, Seneca Review, and numerous anthologies. She is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Arts at the University of Chicago.