The Body Under Water


By Courtney Hartnett

When it exhales           the body sinks deeper              its hands
            feel weightless                         hair like kelp                          
its eventual stillness                what eyeless creatures will it feed                 
will its bones               touch air
                                    what will the world be then

            the water’s surface has made a heavy ceiling              you are still above it
            and the air is stinging               and cold          
            it breaks under you as you fall                        swim along the white floor
                                      soundless                     then still

I think this is what dying feels like                                as if it is something I know

                        your body distant and blue                               lined in possible light


Courtney Hartnett holds an MFA from UNC Greensboro, where she currently teaches. Her poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in NimrodGertrudeWinter TangerineBombay GinAppalachian Journal, and elsewhere. Courtney was a finalist for the Crab Orchard Review's 2014 Allison Joseph Poetry Award.