10 June 2006 | Vol. 6, No. 2
Clotted chestnut, boiled thick with silt,
the calm lake wrinkles light, one storm over.
My breast stroke cuts through water, I shear time
toward a swamping dinghy. Tight hands scalpel
currents on my chest. Four boys stand
four years old, in the boat.
A fifth floats, face swayed to bottom,
near the prow. They stare, unalarmed.
I clamp my lips to his through water.
Nose pinched, rose lungs inflate.
The boat is filling with balloons.
A spawning bass thumps in an ice chest.
I wade: on a bank's dry lip the doctor
stands in his long, immaculate coat. I yank the red-
tubed stethoscope from his throat. A priest watches:
I press my steel circle against the boy's thoracic nest,
fibrillation. Call the ambulance, I yell,
and the white coat murmurs, Stroke
the carotid artery with your thumb.
I rub blue throat-putty but he looks up limp-eyed.
The four trail me, leaving. The deadest shrivels, a wet mummy
white as something in a coded jar, pickled for dissection.
Hairless, earless, mouthless: the drained, amphibious body.
Black specks like frogspawn punctuate the head,
staring through jelled lids at something before the human.
About the author:
Theodore Worozbyt's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crazyhorse, Hotel Amerika, Kenyon Review, Kulture Vulture, Mississippi Review Online, New England Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, Smartish Pace, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. His manuscript, A Unified Theory of Light, won the 2005 Dream Horse Press chapbook competition.