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Surface Tension

Vol. XXVII, no. 2

B. J. Best

you had never seen water striders
before, and were impressed how their legs
perfectly dimpled the water

without actually breaking through
it. it's like how you can overfill
a glass, i say: the water has a thin skin

that binds without breaking. as a child
i would take light coins from my grandparents'
trips to asia and ease them onto the meniscus

(my word) of a tumbler, pleased
that such metal could float. you ask
how the bugs move, and i say

very carefully. we laugh. you imagine
the rapture of jesus, son of god, the sproinginess
(your word) of walking on waves. that evening,

you say it's time to think about
having children. i say absolutely
not. i will be able to walk

on water before i'm ready
to have kids. you say, go ahead,
why don't you fucking try.

but when i swim, i can't float
on my back even if
i want to. my bones cost too much.

the following night, we fill
our thin skins with love and sex,
and afterwards you say, you could learn

from the water, drifting me past the currents
of your thighs. i riffle to sleep
in dying reverberations, pressing my palm

as lightly as possible against
your stomach, wondering what container,
if any, will hold me.