» Poetry

Weight of Water

Allison Field Bell


Yesterday at the kitchen sink, my lover told me again
how I can’t do it right—load the dishwasher, wash the cast iron.
No soap, no scrubbing. My hands submerged in water, scalding.


Today, I’d rather be a fish. Scales, gills, unblinking eyes. Curl
around the toxic tentacles of that blooming mass: the anemone.
Brilliant orange and white stripes against the rainbow of reef.


None of that anxiety that dwells in the stomach, hollows it out, drops
it to the knees. The way my lover yelled when I panicked—
shook and shimmied. Too much, too much.


Too much pressure from the weight of water above,
but not feeling the ear-popping ascent from the depths of
the sandy floor. Water crushing bones. A whole sea of it to live in.


I’d like to be a shark. A predator. Free in my own kingdom.
Beast so ancient, so full of its own history, so full of its
own instinct. So full. So unlike the way I am. Sitting on the edge


of the bed now, my lover beyond a slammed door. I wonder
what it is to escape something. Where it is I could go. Beyond
the twist of whitewater, the shallow sand shelf to the deep


underbelly of sea, cold dark infinite. Bliss, all that water, swimming.


Allison Field Bell

Allison Field Bell is originally from northern California but has spent most of her adult life in the desert. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Prose at the University of Utah, and she has an MFA in Fiction from New Mexico State University. Her prose appears in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, New Orleans Review, West Branch, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Pinch, and elsewhere. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, Superstition Review, Palette Poetry, RHINO Poetry, The Greensboro Review, Nimrod International Journal, and elsewhere. Find her at allisonfieldbell.com.