All I remember is rushing water—
The creeks fed into us
as we wetted each other’s mouths

with brine. Everyone I knew was sixteen
& drunk. Nights, we smashed bottles
on ruined civil war forts. Damp tights stuck

to our thighs. The city kept on sinking,
or swimming, despite the tremors.
Each day, new shakes: thew thief,

brick-rattler, wrecking force. We sprayed
fuck the confederacy on the coast’s rubble.
After living below sea level for so long,
          what else could we do?

Our smoke rings turned to mist
against the palms. We were driftwood,
tidewrack, abandoned dunnage—

always two shots deep & three feet under.
When the skyline sank, we didn’t stop it.
The sidewalk kept splitting open
to let the sea back in.


RAENA SHIRALI is originally from Charleston, South Carolina, where she earned her BA at College of Charleston. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, where she is earning her MFA in poetry at The Ohio State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fogged Clarity and Pleiades.

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