emilie kneifel


               for Nivretta Thatra

our feet dangle loose, we let our names
answer, and when it’s light and then lighter
i empty my mouth

the story maman recounts now about family:
this canyon used to be swimming
with legs, “the water, remember, do you,
the blue–”

when leaving us last time she dreamt of a cove, emerald turtles
born sticky– my maman splits her joy so she dug her way back to–
where we’d found them already
with names

“they were so beautiful,” she says, still seeing,
beauty still nothing if not for her grief, “and i kept forgetting
where did i see them,” so she bought me a bronze figurine

at night, when it warms itself on my sternum, my own skin
forgets a good weight, but i whisper her old songs
to absence, i dream about something
kept safe


emilie kneifel is a poet/critic, editor at The Puritan/Theta Wave, creator of CATCH/PLAYD8s, and nivi’s friend. find ’em at emiliekneifel.com, @emiliekneifel, and in Tiohtiáke, hopping and hoping.

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