I found a bottle at the bottom of the ocean

 

Sealed with obsidian & red beryl

I could see a child inside

 

who dazzled the bottle beast &

I was afraid to release her

 

she was everything

her breath became my breath

 

her heart my heart, her voice—

 

I broke the seal & we fell onto the sand

blood and afterbirth a coronation

 

the child now free, inhaled salt and spume

the both of us standing at the ocean’s

 

edge, a tern of froth a wisp of cloud

she took rocks from the ocean

 

& sand from the shore

then drank them like wine

 

& made of that bottle a weapon

 

                  I’ve buried so many things &

when I cannot hold anything more

 

my heart, a dark red bottle,

then breaks the glass of my hands

 

Alicia Elkort’s poetry has been published in AGNI, Arsenic Lobster, Elsewhere Lit, Heron Tree, Menacing Hedge, Rogue Agent, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and many others. She was named a finalist for the Two Sylvias Press Wilder Series Book Prize in 2015. She lives in California and will go to great lengths for an honest cup of black tea and a cool breeze.

Jennifer Givhan is a Mexican-American writer and activist from the southwestern desert and the author of three prize-winning poetry collections: Girl with Death Mask (Indiana University Press/Indiana Review’s Blue Light Books, 2017), Protection Spell (University of Arkansas Press, 2016), and Landscape with Headless Mama (Pleiades Press, 2015). Her honors include an NEA fellowship, a PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices fellowship, and the Frost Place Latin@ scholarship, among others, and her work has appeared in publications including Best New Poets, Ploughshares, Poetry, Boston Review, AGNI, and Kenyon Review. She is editor-in-chief of Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and teaches at The Poetry Barn and Western New Mexico University.