Primordial Soup

I arrive late to my own baptism.        I take my time, throwing towel on sand and baking

in sun, humidity drawing sweat from my pores without asking.       Brown water

stretches for at least a mile like skin        over the earth. Beside me a child         makes

castles in coastal dirt,       a man-made coast, a small lake called Sardis where couples

float on water hot as air,        opaque.


A bag of potato chips rolls by, kisses the water’s edge. If this were a dream,        I would

remove my bathing suit, these patches covering what fig leaves would, and walk along

the water.        I would walk on top of water to the other side, past the naval base,

highway, the crooked edges of state lines to remember        where I came from, where

there is left to go.        I’d stop to collect reds: sunsets, clay dirt, New England foliage,

my blood, my family tree, my lover,        my reds sewn into a patchwork dress, shades

down my back, clothed in place.


A boy is dropped into the water, mother        serious as a priest. When he emerges, his

cry is more beautiful        than a fiddle, more beautiful than the natural hum of the trees

here, insects holding one note in collective meditation.        He breathes.        Splutters,

smiles, kicks water at his sister.


I am more tentative, submerge myself slowly into body-temperature waters. Below me I

watch fish dart into where I cannot see,        murky past my waist. Fish that didn’t make

it float belly up, smaller than my thumb, boiled. Somehow        the others keep on going.

They move their fins, no smell of death on the water.        The family’s on the beach

now, eating sandwiches, forming a ring         on the surface of this sand-planet. This

dirty lake with its flawed dark waters        suddenly so much like us.




Kina is a recent grad of tiny Hamilton College and currently resides in northern Mississippi with her two cats and boyfriend. She works in non-profit and occasionally tests recipes for the perfect whiskey sour. Writing has appeared in Welter, Crack the Spine, and other journals.