“Severance” by Jake Bailey

If both parties agree to the terms of the contract,
a heart unpumps itself from streams of blood.

A tiny boat drifts to docks untethered from land,
bobbing in the wake of severance.

I climb aboard with still-quaking bones
beneath the weight of memory wrought

from now-alien images, rowing toward the sea,
following the current like a man forgetting his body.

The words are mostly water and float easily
between logs and silt, weaving their way

into something understandable. I never agreed
to the terms of the contract, my heart

a balloon loosed from fingers reddened to white.
Think about that. The loftiness of who we think

we are. My boat springs a leak, blooms a pool
saturating the worries of my feet. I point them

toward oceans that could wash us away.
I sign the papers. The boat begins to sink.

I hold my breath and leap from what carries me.
Jake Bailey headshot of man in glasses smoking pipe

Jake Bailey is a schiZotypal experientialist with work in The American Journal of Poetry, Diode Poetry Journal, Palette Poetry, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere. Jake received his MFA from Antioch University, Los Angeles. He lives in Illinois with his wife and their three dogs. Find him on Twitter (@SaintJakeowitz) and at saintjakeowitz.xyz.

Photo by Miles Iwes on Unsplash