Author: Donna Vorreyer

They tell you to remove your valuables,
your metal, settle you with music, tell
you to remain perfectly still, relax.

But the music disappears with the hum
and rattle of the machinery, rhythmic,
like waves, and you are tucked so tightly

into the bed that you feel as if you are
already dead, arranged for burial in
some Norse ritual — the mad pounding

of hammers, the laying of offerings,
your clan on the shore. Then the fire
engulfs you, and you are set afloat in

the dim light of dawn, strapped in for
the afterlife, alone with the wind,
the sea, the broad boat of your body.

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The myth has gotten it wrong.
Narcissus loved the water, not
himself, loved the blur and swirl
of the rippling river where any
face can change, one expression
eclipsing another until it is almost
unrecognizable. Poor Narcissus —

how easily I have fallen prey to
the sway of waves upon a shore,
lost myself in the rhythmic
whispers of small streams over
stones, forgotten the whole solid
world and dunked my head beneath
the surface of the water filling up

the bath, listened to the uterine roar
of its flow in my ears and then
emerged reborn, dripping, naked,
blinking at my alien surroundings,
resisting the gravity that wants to
force me upright onto dry land when
all I want to do is gaze and float.

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