Today I become liquid noise,
and my wet coughs catch
on the wetness outside of me.
It is tangible; it is disconcerting—
The warm slow movements of
my body work in tandem with
the current, with your hands
that fill the space above my head.

Sometimes, I don’t want this closeness.
Sometimes, it is frightening
for our heartbeats to pulse
through the same slow-moving
waves: greeting each other with
half-sentience, perhaps
horrifyingly with understanding.

In this place, you say, there exists
no division between “you” and “me.”
Maybe, you tell me, just maybe
we are a single mass with limbs
waterlogged and this gravity turns
the world: our arteries the branches
or fins of this worldblood.

I wonder if jellyfish, with their no
hearts in the first place, could ever
begin to explain things to me now.

We watch them move in quiet no-
purpose and trail their stinging curtains
across one another’s backs.

This is a reprint of work originally published in The Penn Review.

Fox Auslander is a non-binary poet based in Southwest Philadelphia. They are a volunteer at Alien Magazine and The Chestnut Review, a temporary shut-in, and probably happy. Find their recent work in The Daily Drunk, forthcoming in GLITCHWORDS and Collective Realms Magazine, and on Twitter: @circumgender.

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