Summer 2016 - Poetry

Natalia Theodoridou

 

The Tide

A strange day, this. It feels foreign, borrowed, and, for that very reason, sensitive; touch it, and it might drip, or darken,

suddenly and irrevocably.

It was on such a day that I chose to wake up—and why, nine months later, nine sooner, what’s the difference; but I did wake up and went out on the street. Rather, I thought of going out, I stopped at the door and came back, empty-handed and empty-shouldered,

as always;

why go out, to see whom, be seen by whom, and besides, maybe we are not supposed to go out on days like this at all. I at least feel somewhat embarrassed, or respectful; as if there were something else walking the streets on days like this, sliding, slithering, and you wouldn’t want to cross its path, lest you get infected, and then you would be crawling on the highways your whole life, alone, shadowy, contagious.

So I came back and there it was, my seaside body. The city like a net,

and the world’s sorrow at high tide.

I can almost hear the waves approaching, reaching my doorstep, and I rush to do what’s necessary: squeeze a towel under the door; draw the curtains; count the lights, make sure the number’s not odd; invoke the wave breaker.

(come)

I can feel the city rising, pulsing, swelling.

(come)

The sea is now outside my window, it threatens with flood.

(come, now)

The body grows rocks.

Soon the water will break the surrounding glass.

It will find my bed and carry it away,

a ship swimming over the submerged city.

The school flooded—the stairs in fragments, I can’t, I couldn’t—

So much water and yet—

The ship sinks in the rock,

mast, sail and all.

 

 

*

 
Natalia Theodoridou is a media & cultural studies scholar, the dramaturge of Adrift Performance Makers (@AdriftPM), and a writer of strange words. Originally from Greece, she has lived in Chicago, London, Portsmouth, and Bali for several years. She is currently based in Exeter, UK. Her work has appeared in Neon, Litro, Interfictions, and elsewhere. Find out more at www.natalia-theodoridou.com, or follow @natalia_theodor on Twitter.

  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.