Faye Taking a Breath – Rikki Santer

after a painting by Laura Sanders

Launched from the lake’s muzzle
                your bones swirl
in amniotic womanhood
               against the undertow of adolescence.

Your face a full moon & you take
               breath,  exhale flocks of dragonflies
& golden tadpoles, swallow
               old stories, deep song.

In time you will claim Rio Abajo Rio
               your river beneath the river—
your hair blonde kelp,  no life
               jacket or bow line

you are nimble,
               a vernal shapeshifter
treading waters
               of kith & kin.

Necklaces ripple ‘round you,
               your sultry appointments with the world
may embrace fluidity—a she, a he,
               a them, each to each.  You raise

your arms above your head
               then submerge downward,
Anais Nin tattooed onto
              each wrist from your mother:

on left— I must be a mermaid,
            on right—I have no fear of depths
and a great fear
            of shallow living.
Rikki SanterRikki Santer’s work has appeared in various publications including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Margie, Hotel Amerika, The American Journal of Poetry, Slab, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO, Grimm, Slipstream, Midwest Review and The Main Street Rag. Her seventh poetry collection, In Pearl Broth, was just published by Stubborn Mule Press.