I fear having nothing to say.
M loneliness has eased into an urge
to connect, to understand someone
and be understood in return.
But what is there to talk about?

Fragments drift through my mind.
I try sifting through them to find words –
and not just any words will do.
I want to find the right ones.

But every time I fish something out,
it turns out to be
just another soda ring in the ocean,
and I am left on the shore again,
fingers dripping,
trying to grasp something meaningful.

Copyright 2014 by Shannon Dennis


The Butterfly

As Elias lay in his hammock of flames
between the charred and dying trees,
he felt something soft graze his cheek –
a yellow butterfly’s wing,
tipped in black.
He turned his face,
and squinting through the smoke,
he could just barely see
the trace of its fragile form
before it fluttered away.

Copyright 2014 by Shannon Dennis

The Dissolution of Umi

Umi is dangerous.

She is clothed in shimmering water,

which she pulls back to reveal

the suppleness of her skin.

She pulls me in closer

for a kiss that takes me

into the black void of the ocean,

where twilight fish

carry lamps inside them

and giant isopods

scavenge the floor.

She lets me hold

the mist of her being

in my embrace.

I vowed never to let her go,

but I’m afraid it’s too late –

she is already slipping

through my fingers.

When our lips finally part,

mine are stained with the kind of blood

that will never wash away.

I want to call out to her,

but the icy water would crush

my lungs in seconds…

All I can do is watch, helplessly,

as her eyes roll back,

and the tendrils of her hair

float up like strands of seaweed,

until the rest of her dissolves

into a creamy foam.

I want nothing more

than to stay down here, with what is left of her,

but my body moves up,

as if someone is pulling a string

through my spine;

there is no way to fight it.

I break through the surface,

and up here, the water

is green and warm, with streaks

of sunlight.

I would much rather be

in the dark water with Umi,

even if I never saw the sun again.

With her hollow laugh

and the ripples of her skin

and undulating breasts,

and the enticing flow between her thighs,

I would not have needed the warmth.

But now she is gone –

and all I have left of her

is the metallic taste in my mouth.


Copyright 2014 by Shannon Dennis