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Issue 5 Poetry

[MELISSA ANNE]

a boy I know teaches me how to noodle for catfish

I tell him that his face is an octopus, 
just like the one nursing my ankle, except like hell
he would ever find someone to make out with.
Not even an ankle would want to get near a face like his

except to kick it. This is the seventeenth time I’ve told him so,
one for every year he’s been alive. I have no regrets.
I think I love this boy, and when you love someone 
the best thing to do is fake hate them 
until they almost believe you.

The finger he flips me is a squawk of an insult
jumping off the crest of a breeze and so practiced
it’s perfect. Maybe he also loves me just as much
as I love him and this will remain unsaid forever

even if we drown here today in six inches of water
even if they find our bodies in the split lip of the river
with his hand in mine. It would be so embarrassing 
but at least we’d be dead.

If we died here today, where would they bury us? 
I point to a hole in the sand. In here?
Catfish lay eggs in those holes, he tells me
and they sleep in there too. So no. 
He chews on the sticky licorice of a pause.
Stupid, he finally says. 

On the count of three we burrow our arms elbow-deep
into the mud and the sky opens underfoot, a flurry of catfish,
sand and sea smacking us around until we are two soaked through
with God’s wrath. I know He’s screaming I’m sick of you two.

Behind us the sun winks down, 
sugaring the trees with grapefruit light 
and the half-baked rind of a moon.

[about]

Melissa Anne currently lives in the DC metro area. Her poetry and fiction have been recognized by several publications and organizations, including Rust + Moth, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, FreezeRay Poetry, Yuzu Press, The Adroit Journal, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

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