Ella Flores

Subject, Impermanence

A soft-shaped pool made of high tide
has a name, I’m sure, the way the water
swirls with shell-bits and sun-ripples, not sure
what side to splash up on will tell you he is

a he today. The pebbles freckled
along his body feel compelled to split
to the sounds of approaching and leaving.

If he asks you to stay and watch the horseflies
settle on his sheen, un-be yourself to wish him

best, to be a thank you. And if today she is a she,
you’ll see her still, become a mirror, your breath
will want to hold, as if her being were something

you could participate in. You’ll learn this
best if you lay an ear to her surface
and memorize each lap, after lap, after all
because it’s all happening. Today, the edgeless
misty overcast will you tell you they are  

they. If they put the horizon on as a movie,
look for their smile in the ending credits, your hands
holding. And if they can’t even be sure they exist,

you could wait until they evaporate, see what’s left
between you. But if they say tomorrow  

he’d like to see you again, they’ll let your fingertips go,
not yet pruned from her body, and leave you only
the tension of drops on skin.


Ella Flores is an MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University and is an associate poetry editor for Passages North. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Radar Poetry, RHINO Poetry, Plume Poetry and Hayden's Ferry Review.