Poem | Shark

A voice is a breath turned scarlet. I inhale by traveling. (Unsplash/Gerald Schömbs)

Sleep is a search. Waking is a wound.
Did I say your name? Here, I catch
                        and close again
warm as the abyss.
My skin is sandstone, my teeth
the law. These eyes

will never close. Breath is keeping still
while the deep flows through my lips.
Did I ever ask? My name
is yours. I eat the even and the odd.
My bones are sinews,
my teeth a world. These eyes

will never close. Blood is music.
I never forget. Did I say
a single word? Here, I dine
on silence. Did you see me lose
my shadow? I keep the answers

as I feed. A voice is a breath
turned scarlet. I inhale
by traveling. Where was I
before now? I remember you.

Published in the October 2020 issue: 

Michael Cadnum has published nearly forty books, including the National Book Award Finalist novel The Book of the Lion. His most recent book of poetry, Kingdom, includes many poems that first appeared in Commonweal. He is working on a new book of poems, The Promised Rain. He lives in Albany, California.

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