Prelude to Circulatory System
Chelsea Wagenaar  (bio)

There was the pelican who snagged
her feet in the ocean,
& white gulls that clotted near crusts
of foam. Before that, a blindfold
of cloud stretched from horizon ear
to ear. Before that, the moon
on the tesseral water. Cuban bread
& Spanish wine. A stand that sold
gourmet popsicles. A word
in my throat when I looked at him.
The sigh of sheets on the line,
the sigh of sheets moving & still
with us. Perhaps I’ve gone too far—
the distance between begin & begun
is the upturned world before
the retina translates. Already I’m too late.
Already you have moved
from your fallopian dark
to the blooded sanctum where you root.
The earthly currents begin to swish
through you. It is as though
my skin is an eave against which
a curled bird begins to stir.

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