I’ve stopped watching / the water crowd surf the panes / break loose / spit through cracks
/ drench couch cushions and flannels and faces.

The TV is on / my eyelids glued to my eyebrow bone / On the screen / video of kids silent
by water / They have taken to floating stages / like life rafts / On the screen /
commentators shout over whitewater / they get louder / sell ad space / wait / On the
screen / everyone is waiting for the punchline / looking for the joke / they find / a headline
instead / On the screen / everyone is laughing / they say / a parade has been scheduled bring
your life vests.

Cross-legged / leaning against the couch / hiding from the spit / I sit / My feet asleep / I
don’t stand / I rock / ask for cups of water and meals served on coffee tables / My dog licks
my face / I don’t turn my head / I don’t turn / can’t turn / while the sloshing against the
windows becomes / not a background noise / but a / drowning.

If breathing under water was possible / I would already be doing it.


Mariah Perkins is currently an MFA candidate at Wichita State University as well as the co-editor-in-chief of mojo/Mikrokosmos. Her work can be found in Lunch Ticket, Fugue, Crack the Spine, and heard on WYCE’s Electric Poetry. This sample of work aims to discuss personal and collective anxieties.