I Remember the Time Adrian Told Me there’s a Certain Kind of Magic
To Cities Warm Enough to Wear Shorts Every Night
once the clothes have slivered off in sweat-stilled air and you’re faced
with your other skin, the one
beneath the skin beneath your skin, the one
you can never shed—
the kind that holds you together
that you will later come to resent for its intricacy, for its mothering—
and in its grafting of your sensibility along an amber skyline
you flower like seafoam.
Because you know that what you really need is to fall apart
to lap back and forth loose like wave over wave
blue over green over blue
unraveled and spun, sometimes.
My hand is on her knee and she’s crying to me but
tears are not tears
when your toes are dipped into the coast;
the sea knows its own;
a force that beckons our memories out of the body to break
upon the sand.
The words that hide behind the words behind the bodies, when two bodies
and skin and the colors of a sunset soaked into his grip
while she leaned over the pier to tell him that somewhere something is writhing
against the surface and slipping off the page
and breaking the ripples and kissing the tide:
the very last body, the very last word
to make the rest
So we swim once the sky is dark and I lick the salt off my arm
and wash myself in water cool enough to feel the moon dripping down my back
and I’m back in shorts and she’s wiped off her face
and we’re barefoot down the street back to the motel
much farther than we started and without any answers.
Nicolle Chantal Moffat is a poet from Los Angeles. She studied at University of California, Berkeley, where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature. When she is not playing with her cat Amelia, she is building weird websites, loitering local parking lots, grazing the coats aisle of Salvation Army, and attempting to put into words what cannot be put into words. Her work is forthcoming in The Penn Review.