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How the Jellyfish Prospered

It’s August in New York

& my lover’s alarm

siphons me into the kitchen

as the room fills with clouds.

I don’t mind poetry, not even here,

telling you I forgot the glass bottle in the freezer

of all places, shards I’ll have to pickaxe

with a butter knife.

How did I—when?

There is no question like the body.

I collect its fragments. My little butter knife /

chip / chip / chips. Angel folds her arms

around me while I sift through blue freezer light.

Somewhere far beyond

jellyfish bob on a wave while I gather shrapnel.

My teeth chatter.

Tears polyp at the sudden thought,

Thanks to this double-edged salt,

by the time I’m fifty, will I remember

anything at all?

The butter knife speaks: yield.


Who needs memories when you have

arms around your waist?

I wed each wave

as it hits me.

from Odes to LithiumFind more by Shira Erlichman at the library

Copyright © 2019 Shira Erlichman
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Poems Shira Erlichman

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.