Kelly R. Samuels
Talking to Natalia Molchanova
The pool, even the deep end,
was nothing but for training.
For lying face down in the death
pose and holding your breath
while someone else kept time.
We were told not to do that,
not to fool the observer into
thinking we had expired and risen
to the surface only to be collected.
You, probably, had been told
the same, though not for years
and only that once. How many laps
could you do without coming up
for air? I could look it up and try
and walk the distance off, here
in my living room, seen from
the street as just a woman pacing,
worried about something.
I could try and imagine
what it was you saw in the descent,
if anything with your eyes closed,
though I think nothing. Rather:
a feeling, that wholeness you spoke of,
at least when weighted, when
the passage was swift.
I watch footage on YouTube,
see how the soles of your feet shine,
see you thread the line down and back
or use no line, just you and then
only your wake. I try and comprehend –
the ocean, for me, a beautiful view,
the sound of which lulls, but whose depths
are of the nightmare that wakes
and keeps me moored in darkness
for an hour or more, just a little light
coming in through the blind. Maybe
small rooms or closets terrified you. Maybe
it’s the silence I best understand and the rock
and undulation. Certainly, the color blue.
Sometimes you go slowly
and other times you plunge.
Anna Atkins’s Blue
What of the blue and the black
and not the bruise nor battered eye?
The first coats the ceiling and bleeds
down into the baseboards.
And not of sky, summer sky,
cloudless, no. What of it?
Somewhere someone says this
confirms our state of mind,
our skirting edges, not the center
of a room nor circle of people.
Somewhere someone is always
Someone else says sounds like
some sort of song only sung at dusk.
That hazy state where we might
seem like everything
ever wanted. Is when, you say.
But no, not a song. Another sense,
the one I wouldn’t give up. See.
To walk into a room
and find nothing
but it hanging on the walls,
hanging in the long, long
gallery leading out into another blue.
That’s what I dream of.
Your Padina pavonica,
your Cystoseira fibrosa,
your Sargassum vulgare.
Not the men with their guitars, but
those with their deceptive stems
wrested from one depth and made
to appear in another.
We know the snow carries
that tinge north
and south of here.
So, too, the ice.
And to the east that grotto
where an emperor swam.
And to the west
that lone ocean
I have traveled along.
That I know.
Who finds it lovely
as it makes its way
up along the calves?
Someone, I suppose.
About the Author: Kelly R. Samuels lives in the upper Midwest. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net, and has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including The Carolina Quarterly, Sweet Tree Review, Salt Hill, The Citron Review, and RHINO. She has a chapbook, Words Some of Us Rarely Use, forthcoming in January from Unsolicited Press.