Barely treading water in this yawning expanse
of titanium and agate blue,
a solid chasm that swallows the swirls
from my mind as I twirl thoughts about,
not one kept for memory’s sake,
each parcel of phrases and visions escaping
on a tumble of aquarian flow,
this waterfall a loss of time and treasure.
I close my eyes to see only dizzy deepness,
an encircling emptiness enveloping
my body. Skin, skeleton, self
no longer has weight.
I am held aloft by my lack; my void.
I need escape, or I will soon become
the abyss I am absorbing.
Tiger paw descends, swirling words
as a whirlpool, seeking purchase on substance.
She seeks my blood, my muscle, my meat.
Either grasp paw and risk the mauling,
or sink into abandonment of body, disappearing.
I cannot lose my self.
I reach out, expecting claws on contact,
but discover warm furred flesh;
I am not a bloodied heap of meat
crumpled on a mat of dirt.
I am curled up, sun beaming,
sated in the prairie grass
alongside a friend.


Julie S. Paschold, poet/artist from Nebraska, has two degrees in agronomy, was semi-finalist in the Kate Sommers Memorial Prize and twice named honorable mention in Writer’s Digest chapbook contests. Their book of poetry, Horizons, honors soil. They are a published book for the Human Library Organization. or