How to Become a Raft
By Lisken Van Pelt Dus
Migration Issue, Fall 2015
Don’t panic –
the waves remember only wind,
but you, you’ve seen water lapping onto land,
thinning into nothing.
Channel the deep bass swell.
Let it move you.
When you meet petrels, watch how they rise
from the ocean into the sky
and float there, their horizon land.
Give thanks to the water, its buoyancy.
Climb to the tops of the waves.
You’ll see jellyfish,
all the kinds that ever scared you –
blooms of medusas.
Lash yourself to the air with their loose tentacles.
They’ve been detached a long time
and no longer sting.
Remember when you were nine –
a moon-white beach,
dark water glittering.
You wanted to become the ocean,
to gleam like that.
Coat yourself in its phosphorescence,
light your way to shore.
Photo Credit | Gail Taylor (2015)
Lisken Van Pelt Dus is a poet, teacher, and martial artist, raised in England, the US, and Mexico, and now living in Massachusetts. Her work can be found in such journals as Conduit, The South Carolina Review, qarrtsiluni, and upstreet, and has earned awards and honors from The Comstock Review, The Atlanta Review, and Cider Press Review. Her chapbook, Everywhere at Once, was published by Pudding House Press in 2009, and her first full-length book, What We’re Made Of, is due out from Word Tech Publications’ Cherry Grove imprint in May 2016.