She swallows a pearl    uncultured it is
so is she    inside the pearl
sleeps mustard seed or
                             a babe’s clipped nail or
a kitten’s eyelash or
                             something else alive and
spinning warm.
                   She walks toward
the far middle distance
with a pebble in
her shoe    she put it there
to remember   always
that she’s of this earth
                                                not of the air
she cannot fly     doesn’t want
to fly      all that air swishing
as she swings ever higher
toward the moon
tonight barely one night
past full
            she swallows the moon
                                                nor of the water
she cannot swim     such effort
to stay afloat    part of her wanting
to be vertical
she walks on
thinking she must be glowing
willing the pearl
the pebble
the spinning night
to save her.

Judy Brackett lives in the California foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada. Her poems have appeared in Fish Anthology 2022, California Fire & Water, Epoch, the Maine Review, Commonweal, Midwest Review, Cloudbank, Subtropics, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, Flat Water: Nebraska Poems was published by Finishing Line Press.

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Published in the December 2020 issue: View Contents
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