A Woman in Three Volumes

by Rebecca Mitchell

Volume I

Like a wave
cresting, she rises
to fall to her day.
At once, night-
softened toe pads
touch carpet sand
and he heels dig in.
During sleep, gravity
treats all body parts evenly,
supports each muscle and cushions
tiered bones. In morning, when night’s tide
retreats, the force turns on her, pulls only at
her heels, replaces an infinite count of body parts
with just two, which must bear her weight for
the rest of the day. En route to the bathroom,
she feels night tingle out through the soles
of her feet–salt water squeezed
from a sponge–leaving the tips
of her toes with the day’s
final trace of night.

Volume II

She lives a cool
gift of the moon,
rips bare the beauty-
smooth vision of summer
tides and takes over sky’s
symphony as if it were
hers all along.
She’s got latitude.

Volume III

She’d trade last year
for one more day
at the beach. It will
go like this: she will
drive until the sandy
asphalt turns to sand.
Shoes off, she will dig
her heels into the hot
pillow of endless sharp
specks, too small to
cut, then cool them
in the sea. She will be
alone and the water will
reach for her and the surf will
lap up against her shivering
thighs and remind her that
no wave is the same,
no day like another.

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