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Swarm

Seventeen and a half hours out west
I am dandelion breath,
a paper lantern tethered to death,
rising from a sleep spent dreaming
of a past life.

In the dream, it’s all ornithology,
a pattern of bird eyes iterated over and over,
an unsounding tattoo that lives in the marrow,
the kind of hurt held in freediving lungs,
until I climb from sleep on rusted rungs.

This unconscious ladder
lingers until I’m swallowed alive.
I am an hour away from myself;
my watch is useless.

In a field of amber and begotten moss,
the holy mountain splits in two
and I feel I’m meant to climb either side.
I’ve dreamt this before —
I’m deciphering mangroves
that are growing too far inland
like washed up buoys
a species in spite of itself
dry and doomed.

In the morning light my head is a mason jar full of bees.
I reach for the only other thing in the room
before falling back into sleep like honey in an overturned hourglass.

In this issue