RR

SALT BODIES

"Dead Sea" by Paris Petridis

Summer, and corpses covered in barnacles become buoyant,
bloated bodies
are hauled onto land,
autopsies are performed bare on the beach. We wade and gather sea glass
and bits of bone,
sand-rubbed, sun-hardened, listen to the conches confess
what became of them.

No one swims anymore,
not even in the shallows. Rods reel in life-vests and lone limbs, severed feet wash onto shore,
some still sporting shoes. Comb jellies gather and glow, it stings
when we wet our lips, suck at the salt beneath our fingernails. We breathe in
the brine, watch the waves sweep away
our footprints, trace the foam from the receding tide.

Mama,
the ships collided and no one could tell sky from sea, Mama not all endings are also beginnings,
Mama where
were the lighthouses?
What happened to the people in the dinghy, on the bridge? Why do we pray
when we cast off the harbor?

The swollen form lies supine, skin spongy and saline, eye-sockets empty.
The coroner comments that crustaceans pinch the soft parts first,
that the currents carry
what remains.
The water is rising, the seagulls are screaming,
and far from the port, the boat is sinking
slowly, and the crew will be fished out,
floating, even though
months later, even if
face-down.

Contributor
Loulwa Soweid

Loulwa Soweid is a Lebanese-American AUB alumnus, public-health practitioner, aspiring poet and writer, theater enthusiast, and avid advocate of sexual, reproductive and menstrual health. Her written pieces integrate both lived and imagined experiences as well as nonfiction and fictional events and phenomena and are constantly changing as she does; they are always personal and rooted in emotions she hopes readers can relate to.

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Loulwa Soweid is a Lebanese-American AUB alumnus, public-health practitioner, aspiring poet and writer, theater enthusiast, and avid advocate of sexual, reproductive and menstrual health. Her written pieces integrate both lived and imagined experiences as well as nonfiction and fictional events and phenomena and are constantly changing as she does; they are always personal and rooted in emotions she hopes readers can relate to.

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