A life ago, I was a lake

Danez Smith


Was always mouth

open, mouth deep
-blue, toothless swallow
beautiful, wet cemetery

for the gilled & unblessed
busy with fish & failed limbs.

I still don't know if I died.

They say               the life you are born
                              as water is the life
                              you never stop living.

                              Who says that?

                              I have no idea.
                              Work with me.

Maybe I've been a lake ever since

just learned to leg and arm
tamed my mouth into a sharp circle
who only drowns what walks away.

What was water
has blossomed
to blood, what was fish
now anti-body.

Don't let this
fickle flesh fool you.

I can still be all
that damn water.

Cut me down
the center. Watch
the room flood.

My body, once a spot,
now everywhere again, hungry
for what hungers for air.