I lie in deep water,
inhaling cedar as I cleanse my wounds,
a swirl of red.
Because some part of me wants to believe
woman is woman,
I beckon her come in,
fold my knees to make room.
I think if we could only—if—
if some camaraderie of body parts
could fasten breast to breast,
and entwine ovaries like vines
on ancient brick,
wouldn’t she understand?
But as she comes closer
I see her body is not body, but
a swirl of sparkling white fragrant smoke.
And so it is not hard
to drag her in,
to pull her corn silk head
beneath the water line
and hold her down.
She doesn’t even fight.
Before I know it she evaporates;
she doesn’t even drown,
just dissipates into the humid air
till there is nothing of her perfume left.
I settle back into the liquid warmth,
dyed the hue of my blood,
and soak it in.
Emily Banks lives in Atlanta, where she is a doctoral candidate at Emory University. She holds an MFA from the University of Maryland and a BA from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Muse/A Journal, storySouth, Free State Review, Cimarron Review, Pembroke Magazine, and Yemassee.