Everything was elevated. Everything.
High risk, heeded by bed rest,
propping her feet, misshapen,
pale, easily marked, when pressed,
a plush pile to alleviate the swelling
just one month before the due date,
butter mints, the palest were purchased,
balloons, helium, and latex,
expanded enough to float aerially,
as harmless annunciations
tethered to a string,
faint blue, recognized
when clouds brush against each new day.
A boy, breaching with the readiness
of a river cresting against the levee,
his mother carrying him to a place
where the ending became more imminent
than any day of birth.
Never mind flooding or accumulation.
Water rises in odd ways.
Landlocked: Near the Four Corners
With her mermaid, made from oyster
pearl, iridescent name,
her family saw her less and less.
They worried about her obscurity,
no sing song salutations any longer
or solicitations to try something new.
Hallucinations, faces turned
into a liquidity of deep puddles,
lines, grimaces appeared as ripples
her small homage to an ocean
never visited, only imagined
with its perfect litany of blues,
the repetitive alliterative lull
from azure to topaz
that marked each hour.
Where were the fish,
the beauty of plankton
floating like baubles?
These were the manifestations
of the brain bleeds,
the little tributaries,
bursting within the lobes
after she was beaten to bear
internal and external bruising,
skin sharing the same pallor
as any storm approaching.
Only twelve miles from home
speculation, that she, she got picked up in the desert
by a tide of empty ocean side promises
followed by a sinking certainty:
she was driven in the direction
of what always goes wrong.
Gina Ferrara lives and writes in New Orleans. She has four poetry collections: Ethereal Avalanche (Trembling Pillow Press, 2009), Amber Porch Light (Word Tech 2013), Fitting the Sixth Finger: Poems Inspired by the Paintings of Marc Chagall (Kelsay Books 2017) and her most recent Weight of the Ripened (Dos Madres Press, 2020), a finalist for the Eyelands Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Callaloo, The Poetry Ireland Review and Tar River Poetry and was selected for publication in the Sixty-Four Best Poets of 2019 by Black Mountain Press. Since 2007, she has curated The Poetry Buffet, a monthly reading series in New Orleans. She teaches English and writing at Delgado Community College. Gina recommends the New Orleans Bulldog Rescue.