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Four Poems

When You Pull Me From the Water

When you pull me from the water
Tell me I fell. Say you saw it all. How I tripped at the edge.

When you pull me from the water
Hold my face in your hands. Make my hair stand like a mountain. Turn off the bath faucet.

When you pull me from the water
Ask about my blood sugar. Worry over grapes I ate as lunch. Laugh at how I nearly slip back in.

When you pull me from the water
Wipe chiggers from my ankles. Press my skin with your x’s. Numb all the ways they bite me.  

When you pull me from the water
Wring the wet parts dry. Untangle knots I cannot reach. Squeeze a fist for one more drop.

When you pull me from the water
Divide minnows with your hand. Tell me how far eels travel to die. Say stay, the temp’s rising.

When you pull me from the water
Say I set a new record. Look for plumes of my air rising. Hear me gasp at how long I lasted.


Picking Raspberries on the Beach You Cannot Believe How Much You Want

Want               shines like all that water in the morning, endless steam rising,
Rising              like a Great Lake of nothing in your palm, waves
Waves             assessing the love lines of you
You                  held in the wild-beach-aftermath of someone
Someone         strumming a guitar by wind-smoldered flames
Flames             hissing a tune to say come and get me, I dare you, you, you wouldn’t dare
Dare                the water to hold your want. Your rising. Your waves. You.

You pull raspberries from the bush as the hottest days of summer blaze and there he is at your feet, fruit in his hands. Purple like yours, stained like you. His cheeks blotched, eyes open.  And you remember your child is watching, watching how much you want, how you are endless steam rising.


I Have the Flu and So Tonight

It takes nothing for me to feel confused about what it means to be a person.
My baby is playing piano, terribly but with utter curiosity,
delighted by the sounds he is able to make.
His hands used to be smaller.
Still he finds my nipple when he wants to be calm.
Still his hands get stuck on the neck of my shirt.
I may puke, or I may not.
I feel like a body rocking this child to sleep.
I think being a parent has made me less of a reptile when I am ill,
stripped down to one question or two—
Will I lose everything now or later?


Opened Boxes

Apparently, I was looking up the word recoil
when I last sought to define a word. An action. A verb of people in motion
            falling away.

My kid is learning language syllable by syllable,
deconstructing words into fractured shards
            Pro   test   Peo   ple    Ice   Baby

Talking all the time of bodies because he doesn’t yet know the parts.
Hurt body. Body hurt. The order shuffles, but not the warning,
            about a bruise that will bloom as he maps what makes him whole.

Danielle Harms writes from Wisconsin, where she is a PhD candidate at UW-Milwaukee. Her writing has been published in Denver QuarterlyDIAGRAM, Mid-American Review, and in Creative Nonfiction's Sunday Short Reads series. A winner of an AWP Intro Journals Award, she has been awarded residencies at Vermont Studio Center and the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers' Conference. She is the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Cream City Review and faculty advisor for Furrow Magazine. You can find her online: @danielleharms.