Photo by Amy Tensing of an Australian aboriginal girl/child.
Hannah Faith Notess
WATER UNDER WORLD
That river had me marked
as soon as I drifted underground.
I palmed the coins from my eyes
and leapt from the raft into dark water
as cat-eyed goddesses watched me,
whirring their displeasure. From fog
a young god emerged and gathered me
against his body, dripping, onto the bank.
Of course I worshipped him. Of course
I should begin again. Eighth grade:
I wanted a shirtless lifeguard
at the waterpark to see me, so I leapt
from the flotilla of plastic innertubes
into the waist-deep canal, where spotlit
mummies craned animatronic necks.
He came. He rustled, furious,
from a plastic hedge and banned
me from the Lost River
of the Pharaohs for life. No Nile.
No Underworld. Cast out,
sunburned, that night I drifted,
thought of diving, as the waves kept
rocking me, like hands
on my shoulders. Now I could die
because a boy had held me and
his anger made him warm.
More information on Hannah Faith Notess here.