Water Birth

          1: I dreamt of water. Swimming. Though not the way
you’d think someone dreams of water. No, I couldn’t breathe in
it, I was not a mermaid. Though I imagine dying is a mermaid.
All hues in all the rivers rupture, emerging death’s womb,
slipping, water-dressed.
          2: The heart’s errata comes in waves, an iris, a knife
sliding in the wrist. My roared and red pulse, its bleed renewing each
night. I want to see the spaces where you sleep. The way I might
lurk in the black, tiptoeing around the other dead. Earthworms
on sidewalk after the heavy rain pulled them from the ground.
Their 5 hearts all aching. Though I suppose I will never wake them.
The hearts. The dying. I dreamt of you, of taking your power.
          3: I am howling. Casting spells. In the field, birds
look for insects and fruit. They want something sweet, they want sugar.
          4: A hundred yards away children
handle a bullfrog. Pulling her from the thorax in which the heart
is situated. They want to make of it a home—the heart—and wonder
what happens when kissing a bullfrog.
I tell them, he will only emit a stench.
          5: There is no magic, the dead tell me.
Dreaming of tibias. Not broken. Of the ring finger. Not broken.
Your radius, your heart’s ulna.


Stephanie Bryant Anderson earned her B.S. in English and Psychology from Austin Peay State University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Passages North, Birmingham Poetry Review, Mid-American Review and others. Her chapbook Monozygotic | Codependent (2015) is available from The Blue Hour Press. Currently Stephanie is completing an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling.