Alligator Blue Devils
Best of the Net Nominee 2023
She has just one poem to froth, no matter
the appeal she makes to shoehorn verbs.
She is a goddess fallen from the sky, like a tooth,
rotten and brownish as dark, brackish tea.
Her Egyptian forebears, now in Paris museums,
are the lost colony of royal kin, trapped
in stone or pinned down in vitrines.
She swims the lake they call the loch
to test the depth and count the balls
of eels together nested like devout fingers.
There are water moccasins and tarpon, too,
all proof of life for profiteers.
As the waters rise in bubbling, rushing storms,
her skin saves her from loss, even her own
crusty pieces and bony scutes, but she fades
in the fierceness of doubt, of the trees becoming
green again, of the bees flying, of her pod
of hatchlings busted by egg tooth
or by bird, bobcat, or bass.
How to fear what she will never feel?
She alone floats, eyes resting above the rim, drifting
on currents of algae and pondweed — a primal poise.
A splash of movement provokes her envy,
and the snapping turtles move up a log to sun,
as she sinks below to wrestle the verse,
to pull from the bottom some other tercet,
or mutated conceit to repurpose grief,
and finally surface something unworn,
anything to thunderstrike the feeling
of lurking in the murk again
only to rise with more threadbare dread,
or the next derivation of lost panic.
How to give back the time she never used?
She mopes in the gloomy rue of an aubade
crafting defiant submission to always and anywhere,
ready for the moment of patience to pass,
and for the crouching muse to pounce.
Mikal Wix lives in the American South. Their work can be read in Corvus Review, Peregrine Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Roi Fainéant Press, decomp journal, Olit, Queerlings, Door = Jar, and elsewhere. They are a social sciences editor by day and serve as an associate poetry editor for West Trade Review.