By Christina Beasley
The anatomy of the sea anemone is intricate.
I swam through one’s thick mouth and met
miles of burial ground: grave upon grave,
a delicate smog and coat of tender moss.
The pale chime of tiny bells in multitude;
the landscape’s breath a stale breeze.
A moon blinked wearily and clouds jostled.
The best place for a tomb is the bottom of a boundless sea;
the pliable sides of an accommodating animal.
This very breed can reach the size of a bicycle,
a baseball field, an evolving continent.
Like the soil of a funeral mound, the anemone is soft.
Violated. Composed of excess. Every night,
new mourners brace its belly and leave their loves.
I traveled here for you, my darling. I’ll leave you here.
I’ll leave you quiet.
The why of new worlds is always
to leave our dead in them.
Christina Beasley is a poet and public servant in Washington, D.C. She is a poetry editor for Barrelhouse magazine. Her poems have or will appear in Copper Nickel, Hobart, Atlanta Review, Bridge Eight, The Pinch, The Southampton Review, Into the Void, Watershed Review, and other publications. She has done residencies with Virginia Quarterly Review, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Southern Illinois University. She is pursuing her M.F.A. at the Bennington Writing Seminars and received her M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University. Check out her website at: www.christinabeasley.com.
Art by Michelle Johnsen, art editor
Michelle Johnsen is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine, EcoWatch.com, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by AP, weather.com, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at] gmail.com.