Dreams of saltwater
Alycia Pirmohamed | Poetry
The Land of Talk album is on repeat
and there are redwoods on either side of us.
Oregon is whelmed by recollections
of gorgeous youthful desire. I think:
it’s alright to be this careless
here, where the basalt sea stacks
promise centuries of ongoing love.
It’s alright to cede into overdraft, to forget
whatever poverty follows me,
whatever chaotic childhood is seeded
onto the long, endless flatlands where I’m from.
All so that I can be deeply, irrevocably
in love while a stranger on the west coast.
I wake up from dreams of saltwater,
my skin patterned like sand ripples.
In one photograph I am submerged
while wearing a long black skirt,
sliding between new memories and old aches.
A part of me wants to admit that among
these jagged rocks and non-vascular
flowerless plants, desire is a peculiar
misshapen creature. It doesn’t belong here,
planted in a young woman who has only
ever let herself think about how to survive.
When the next track plays,
we emerge from a thicket and the seawater
eddies around us. I think:
just this once. I think:
I should let myself have this. I uncurl
like something peeled in one long stretch
then distributed among many lakes.
Alycia Pirmohamed is the author of the poetry collection Another Way to Split Water (YesYes Books & Polygon Books). She received an MFA from the University of Oregon and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, and she currently teaches on the MSt. Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge. Alycia is the recipient of awards including the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, and others.