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By Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Give me a church

made entirely of salt.

Let the walls hiss

and smoke when

I return to shore.


I ask for the grace

of a new freckle

on my cheek, the lift

of blue and my mother’s

soapy skin to greet me.


Hide me in a room

with no windows.

Never let me see

the dolphins leaping

into commas


for this water-prayer

rising like a host

of sky lanterns into

the inky evening.

Let them hang


in the sky until

they vanish at the edge

of the constellations — 

the heroes and animals

too busy and bright to notice.


Source: Poetry (July 2017)

  • Nature

Poet Bio

Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Aimee Nezhukumatathil was born in Chicago to a Filipina mother and South Indian father. She earned her BA and MFA from The Ohio State University and was a Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is poetry editor of Orion magazine and is currently professor of English in the MFA program at the University of Mississippi. She lives with her husband and sons in Oxford, Mississippi. See More By This Poet

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