After Fay Zwicky’s ‘Border Crossings’


you have to be living under a rock

not just any rock: igneous, of fire

silica, the earth’s crust


the last time she saw me, from her dark place

she was still holding onto something

I couldn’t hear, fragmented, what she needed to lose


I held out hope for her, like a handful of coins, my muscles

flexing, I thought it was because I was strong,

worked out every day, running up and down steps


I was young, and didn’t know the crack of a body in transition

the bones, the melting skin, the scales

a different kind of strength, not brute, persistent


a slow process, maintaining the body’s form

I can’t go anywhere trapped beneath rock, stuck

inside this uncomfortable skin


all that I couldn’t eat, couldn’t build, couldn’t find

remains in place and my apology

takes the form of sinew, of shade


Magdalena Ball


Magdalena Ball is a novelist, poet, reviewer and interviewer, and is the Managing Editor of Compulsive Reader. She is the author of two novels and three poetry books, the most recent of which is Unmaking Atoms (Ginninderra Press 2017).

© 2018