"Fathomless" by Kristen Holt-Browning


I evolved washed up

on the beach. Grappled toward streets.

Moved tearless, vicarious.

Wriggled new toes, crossed a line

called threshold and entered

a one-bulb room where the radio offered

only tarot readings and calls for self-improvement.

The clock on the nightstand timed me

toward perfection of the self.

Voices called me out of the house

with their demands. Stomping feet and grasping hands.

It feels wrong to stop

moving. It feels wrong, this sleeve, silky-full

of tricks: one named right foot, the other one left.

Body shivers, ceaseless, circles

its bendable self. Rejects poor light.

Grows a toothy skin, a cartilage head that knows:

when you’re ready, the food is there to be eaten,

buoyed by salt in black-scratched depths.

See me curve continuous, footless, handless. A frenzy

of boundlessness. The sweet loss of ego—

how I become water.


Kristen Holt-Browning is a freelance editor. Her poems and short stories have been published in Sheila-na-Gig, Juxtaprose, Frontier Poetry, and Barrow Street's 4x2 Project, among other publications. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. Follow her on Instagram @theholtbrowning.

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