“Riptide” by Melanie Wright

Melanie Wright


Breath through the windpipe makes a special sound,
a kind of gurgle when the throat is cut,
as blood seeps into airways that once were round
now flattened by fingers holding her mouth shut.
I count the blare of foghorn: one, then two.
At three she stops her writhing, shoulders slump.
I wait for four, then five: her lips are blue.
At eight I let her drop. Her body thumps
against the warehouse floor. I use some hay
to wipe my new boots clean of this wet mess.
Ten pints in every body, so they say;
it looks like rather more spilled down her dress.
My hands, unshaking, light a cigarette;
I wonder if the fog has lifted yet.

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004
Tribute to Poets Abroad

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