I do not fill my bath with flowers
to be her, but because I want her.
Some elastic part of me believes
I could save her from drowning in blank
verse. Sink into murky waters, and I know
I am dying, drowning daily in this still pool
and filling my lungs with promises.
Choking lilies in scalding water, petal
from petal, the mirror fogs, shallow
with nothing, and I am too young
to understand grief as anything but longing.
I do not want her beautiful, her serene
float across death, her oil paint acceptance.
I want her flood-gasp, her bloated voice
drunk on all she’s lost. Want her blue
lips, her fingers white and frozen, her ribs
flush against skin, skin flush against fabric,
want her to sink and spoil and live
again, furious and shaking, not fearful
but feared, doom-bringer, raining violets
from her hair, peeling violets from her eyes,
shedding remembrance in petals and smoke.
I lean over my knees and wonder
how much bathwater I could swallow and still be a body.
Mary Simmons is a queer poet from Cleveland, Ohio. She is an MFA candidate at Bowling Green State University, where she also serves as an assistant editor for Mid-American Review. She has work in or forthcoming from Exist Otherwise, The Santa Clara Review, The Shore, One Art, and others.