“Underwater Lakes” by Pella Winkopp

Pella Winkopp (age 15)


there is a stillness in me that refuses to be translated,
oceans within oceans; my halcyon halocline unmoving,
stiffened by my own salty breath.
do you hear it now?
the symphony of tiny footsteps beneath my chest,
the swallowing of rivers,
damp droughts swirling into cyclones;
a paradox of movement.
i am nothing but everything i failed to become,
a quiet idealization of my worst dreams;
the bread knives in my mind chafing
against the hard meat of ambition; destroying entirely
anything yet too soft to call itself purpose.
these are the brine pools of the wilted,
us unlucky, lethargic few burning warmer than the sun
without a cloth with which to catch.
i have nothing but the names they gave me,
dull now and hidden beneath the skin of my palms,
pickling in the slow sink of inertia.

from 2023 Rattle Young Poets Anthology

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