By the lighthouse, my face:
curled shimmer
on the whorl of a shell.
A shell’s cavity, not mine—
its murmur, like weather gathering into your hearing,
not mine, never mine—
a thought of sea followed by the question of land.


Shoal end juts out—
a leg severed. Rock wall and water wall.
Prove to me
you are animate:
drive this spade into sand. (Skin, chafing,
all the color there is.)


In my throat—
salt, salt, salt, and the asking for salt,
till flesh loosens to haze.
Dear one, ghostling, stay close
as we wade into water.

Olga Moskvina was born in a city that used to go by another name, in a country that no longer exists. She holds an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures at Princeton University. Her work has appeared in The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, Plum Tree Tavern, and Gingerbread House.

*Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.