What You Answer To

What You Answer To
	Thank you, Lucille Clifton.

I get city slicker and country bumpkin
depending on whose mouth it’s coming from
because I won’t watch a buck hung from the rafters
drain from the hole in his neck to one in the floor,
but I will shake beetles from a honeysuckle
to lick its stamen clean.

Walk with me along the river 
that hides the season’s broken hulls and bones,
then follow it to the sea.

There, my mother’s people call me Clammy.
There, I don’t hear the lifeguard’s whistle.
There, I swim down and down
with a fishing net wrapped around my wrist.

Clammy, 	as in at the beach I’m happy as a.
		as in taking everything in and working
		some dull grit into a pearl—
					getting told it’s just a seed.

– Published in The Fourth River Juvenescence Feature.

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