Panic returns at two in the afternoon.
My lover reminds me that my eyes
are gray when I am sad:
storms on a sea.

The words fall deep into the hole I occupy.
I remind him that I have crossed every ocean
to arrive here. I am shivering
as if dripping and wet.

My grandmothers, their bright scarves faded from salt,
olive bodies twisted with labor, swollen stomachs and joints,
willed me an easy life with their suffering.

I am prone on cotton sheets, eyes swollen shut with salt.
Grids of scar tissue grace my hips;
I brush inherited scarves across my skin,
the fabric faded and thin.

My fists are clenched with involuntary spasms.
I breathe fast and hard.
He reminds me that life is good here;
reaches out to stroke my cheek.

I am still gathering thunder.
I am still towering surf.

Isabel Mader is now sprouting feathers. She is working on finishing her degree while simultaneously cooking, writing, and petting cats.

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