Rub the callus

where the pencil rests

instead of the bare base

of your ring finger. 

When you aren’t feeling


so much like yourself, 

what is your relationship

to enough? The sea


that gives you sand, the foam

that gives you the spray


of algae floating toward river,

salt into a far off fresh?

            Will you let the conches rest

with their oracles gestating


or beg they scream

bloody murder? Evenings 

the pencil marks two 

dimensionality like a dog 


who sits and laps

at the edge of a mirage


called thirst. 

At night the foam builds

without shine. If you don’t 


bed a scientist, will you 

never hear that 


the existence of the surface is 

more important than what 

the surface contains


or your silence? 


If dreams weren’t fluid,

            they would answer 

to day. Instead 

they drown it.


Amy A. Whitcomb

Poetry and prose by Amy A. Whitcomb have recently appeared in Witness, Poet Lore, The Baltimore Review,, and other journals. She holds a Master of Science degree and a Master of Fine Arts degree, both from the University of Idaho. Her writing has been honored with a Pushcart Prize nomination and residencies with the Jentel Foundation, Playa, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can meet Amy at

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