Unlove poem by Amber Auslander


Cloak my salvation in bath-water, blood lover.
Your second row of teeth has gone too long unnoticed.
Teach me to floss those gums to bleed.
Teach me to notice mouths again.
This painted beach swarms with krill carbon, mineral shapes
Staining bleached coral on your bathroom floor.

You only know how to speak in lavender, you accuse.
You only know how to bring out the worst in me.
I watch your breaststroke turn to sink.
Hesitating dive as I follow you under.

Beneath the waves, we propel ourselves through opposing lights.
Your skin, blending into blue. Mine, a target.
I cannot tell when your eyes find crimson,
Only that a passing flounder whispers a warning.

When did this happen to us? I cannot ask, swallowing you first, propelled from floodgate.
You reply without question, When jellyfish took up residence in your neck.
We dissolve in slow motion against this current,
Divisions taking their place in our guided drift.

Back then, I could not separate my blood from the salt.
Now, you cannot separate the wound from the healing.

Proposal. Let’s engage in an exercise: three laps.
Interspliced. My buoyancy balancing.
We wonder: why not float open.


Amber Auslander is a nonbinary poet with a passion for clowns. They wish they were kidding. Follow them on Twitter @corpsedroid for some poetry updates and even more screaming.

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