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By Joyce Kessel

Thrown between swells

I fear the undertow

as you open yourself

naked to the elements

shorn of Masks and subterfuge.

“Keep waving,” I tell you

as I feel the blank eyes

the graze of teeth

a tingled twitch

and the start of the pull downward.

Even closer to shore,

the surf bathing my ankles,

there is that sudden eerie sensation

the steady thump of a long ago soundtrack

as this time it is grief

that draws me into the swirl

the undertow, the little death,

almost too tired to keep from drowning

nestled within your soul.

JOYCE KESSEL will join poet Trudy Stern in a reading and book signing at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main St. She is chair of the Liberal Arts Department and director of the Creative Writing and Literature program at Villa Maria College. Since 1989, she has been a member of the Earth’s Daughters Collective and a co-editor of Earth’s Daughters magazine. This poem is from her new chapbook “Describing the Dark” published by Saddle Road Press.