Susan Comninos

nothing tender, nothing
taught beside my skin.  naught
for hindrance, all for ale—

for fizzy friskness.  for persimmon
taste, for tsimmes.  woe
to the freak snail, the squid

in its seaboiled soul.  for this
i grow and swim? to mist i
lift my eyes on land. adrift

in absence, the brain—swell
upon swell—falls a slip.  the pail’s
knocked over, the spade’s gone

from its hilt.  the waves slop
out: spent, ridiculous.  they
set themselves assailed.

tsimmes (Yiddish): confused agitation; a stew made from meat, potatoes and fruit.