Photo: © Nadia Belalia. All Rights Reserved.

A human will always see a human
in a conch shell.

Ruffled labia, pink
interior where light moves

into mystery. You know
what I mean. Think now:

have you ever seen
an animal, orchid,

cleaved edge
of a mountain, fingers

of grounded clouds
stroking your office window,

without an apparition:
a face, a memory

of sex, or rising dread,
a deepening awareness

of death. I’ve held

a conch shell and blushed,
thinking of its intimate crawl

across the ocean floor,
its slide across sand.

I don’t live by the ocean.
I’m a creature of land.

I crouch in front
of the refrigerator

and listen for the lapping
of the tide.

Kathy Goodkin is the author of Crybaby Bridge, winner of the Moon City Poetry Award (Moon City Press 2019), and Sleep Paralysis (dancing girl press 2017). She is an editor for Gazing Grain Press and a manuscript consultant for the North Carolina Writers’ Network. Her poems and criticism have appeared in Cream City Review, Field, Denver Quarterly, The Volta, and elsewhere.

Appears In

Issue 9

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