The shadow of whiskers like an invitation with the address missing. A fin
like jellyfish but more tulle.
Craterous tulle; black swan pirouetting on the moon.
Tulle skirt with cigarette burn holes; laddered tights.
Iron stain on tulle; muddy.
Burned tulle drowned; Ophelia enters
the water with her head split open.
It sizzles.
Light glinting off scaled arms like merman preparing for battle. Drape him
in tadpoles- a garland to keep. See that collection of freckles
by his elbow? It’s almost a constellation. Call it filtered sunshine on teenage boy
& it won’t come home with him.
An ink blot blossoms in the water. Looks like a smudge of blood on a war photographer’s lens
except there’s no war here. This is the moment –frozen– just
before.

By Rukmini Kalamangalam, Youth Poet Laureate

Click the media player above to listen to the poem read on KPFT 90.1 by Rukmini, WITS Youth Advisory Council Student. The background music is “Japanese Bagoda with Reflection in Water” by Lena Orsa. jamendo.comProduced by Susan Phillips.

Poem a Day is made possible in part by H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Copy.com, The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, and KPFT 90.1.

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