On ‘Bounded On The West By The Land Under Water’ By Kay Sage

by Nadia Arioli

Life can be a wound. Lake Natron in Tanzania
is red with algae scabbing the surface
in blooms. When bats, flamingos,
and eagles bump into water,
they go to stone. My whole life,

I have painted water incorrect—blue
and empty. I go back now with blood.
No, not blood but little plants that don’t
need our sympathetic gaze. How inevitable
the crash of towers, how inevitable

a little life we can’t capture
that stops mid-flight. My paint
is just brushstroke by an arm
still moving offstage. What you see
is a horizon in time, bounded

on the west by land under water.
In movies, if you see the actors
making plans, you know something
will go awry, but if it’s left a mystery,
you know it will work. I am moving,

although I may look dead to you.
I am moving, although you won’t
see a blink. I am moving, deep in
the red place, under water. Stillness,
what are you? A wound can be a life.


Nadia Arioli (nee Wolnisty) is the founder and editor in chief of Thimble Literary Magazine. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spry, SWWIM, Apogee, Penn Review, McNeese Review, Kissing Dynamite, Bateau, Heavy Feather Review, Whale Road Review, SOFTBLOW, and others. They have chapbooks from Cringe-Worthy Poetry Collective, Dancing Girl Press, and a full-length from Spartan.

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