Out of the Ocean

By Amelia Gorman

Laughter was an earful of needles
my mouth a kettle of slaughter dew
ocean slime that never emptied
all the while it never filled.

Laughter from the tall trees on the water
Laughter from the hollow whale shaped hall

All I knew til I brought my own sharpness
down on that dry belly and all its little parasites

Then I knew nothing

Then I knew pricks in my neck, needles
and little loops of wire, eyes lit up again
a mouth wet but not leaking
ears empty after all those years

Happy, like that

asleep in the moss in the world’s lonely places
taking fingerlings from the rivers that never felt fur
hiding underwater from the rain and the great northern divers

until once again, gift-silver four-wheeled and roaring
kayak strapped on top tin can oil hail out the window

laughter comes churning down the road


Amelia Gorman is a recent transplant to Eureka, California, where conservation efforts in her old home of Minnesota and her new one inform a lot of her poetry. She loves tide pools, lakes, fungus, and shelter dogs, and you can read her horror tinged fiction in Sharp & Sugar Tooth from Upper Rubber Boot Books and some of her recent poetry in Vastarien and Liminality Magazine.