Fall/Winter 2014

Claire Ortalda


A swell of green
I slip below
into the dreamworld of history
the anthropology of my being

I am the grinning fish
who is my ancestor
I swim
in a dreamland
of consciousness

I thought (before) I couldn’t breathe here
thought I was a land animal
thought myself a lumbering beast
bound by the rising light at my back
the blackness in front of me
I walked (this beast)
the curve of the earth
like a striped prisoner dragging chains

But now I am sleek as a seal
no longer on two planes
but three
I twirl and play
light and with light and of light

In this syntax of water
all things are connected
up is south
and I am my mother
and my grandmother
I am the ooze of sand
and the history of blood

English instructor, reporter, editor and produced playwright, Claire Ortalda has been published in numerous literary journals. Her short story, A Village Dog,? was winner of the Georgia State University Fiction Prize. Her poem, Iowa,? was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is a founding officer of the multicultural literary group PEN Oakland, an associate editor for Narrative Magazine, and the editor of The Other Side of the Closet (IBS Press) and Financial Sanity (Doubleday).



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