Roberta Kowald
This is like drowning.
How soon the body
forgets familiar
fluid, forgets
lost gills and
cannot breathe.
The artist calls it Mille Fiore
But these forms belong in water.
Structures rise impossible,
Red and purple spires;
Yellow flowers,
tendrils stilled in a Coral Sea
of glass.
Gliding through this space
the eye adjusts
to dimmer light,
The heart swells to
take it in.
I would put out my finger,
stroke these curves
At once soft and
cool as the edge
in the shell of your ear.
But my fingers curl,
rest in my palm.
You sigh,
curled in me;
a small fish,
How soon the body forgets
to breathe here.
I note each shift of light
for you.
You are far from here
sliding through
waters I do not know.
The shard of your absence
and hums in my ear
like the sea.


American by birth, Roberta spent most of her life living in Australia and has been extensively published there. Ending a self-imposed silence of over fifteen years, she has recently begun to write and publish again. She currently teaches technical and further education classes at a youth center in rural Washington State.



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