Arts and Culture

Wreck

By Angele Ellis

no moon, no stars.

the streetlamps

as distant as Venus.

 

i boarded the wrong bus—

thought i had

encompassing right.

 

my membrane

of safety

slipped like a sail

 

four blocks

on the wrong side

of the street where

 

a man plowed

wine-dark air,

intent as Moby Dick.

 

my heart shrunk

to a panicked pulse,

beat against his breath.

 

keep moving, keep—

ghost catshark fleeing

bleached killer whale.

 

he downed me in the hall.

i screamed three times

through drowning waves.

 

he ground & grunted,

flipper-paw mauling

my frozen breast.

 

the galley went hazy

because my glasses shattered

when I fell.

 

after the wreck,

 

my roommate said “tea.”

the cops said nothing.

dazed days before

 

i breathed in and out

without heart pain.

months before

 

i managed sleep

in soul-dark hours.

years before

 

weight of steps behind me

stopped raising hackles

of oceanic sweat.

 

a tender twenty,

i learned to eat dulse—

salt seaweed of survival.

 

Angele Ellis is a longtime editor and community activist who has authored four books, and whose prose and poetry have appeared in seventy-five publications. Her work often deals with social and political issues. She lives in Pittsburgh.

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