image of the body as Nereid
(/why i want access to birth control)

by Farryl Last

The body I am is water in a glass, spiders

across the side of the glass with the veiny precision
of blown pollen. Small truths of the earth seduce me

the gray slip just above/below wavering
                                                                   water surface

the pink shock when the sun dips below the edge, plumped
water clinging bonded molecules to the crown leaf point

how the sky curves blue with the onset of night. What if I were full
of ocean, violent nightblue? Because

I want to care for equally each self part, slick and shined and awkward
as holding a scissor, fingers curved eyes vagina legs stomach skin ass spine transparency.

Mouthful of tongue and teeth like the waxy string for window shades or fish
stamped with scales.

Not heavy, the water coils. Because the water is warm where
it meets itself at the surface I undo each trident tip and leave them sweltering

seen equally above/below, a whale air breech on the surface, a prong on the surface, a gold
slick tooth on the surface, a variegated starfish on the surface

                                                                                                         or where it is cold transparent
jellyfish shimmer: I am cut

halved in equilibrium, hovering part breathing part needing gills. The ocean is
generous                        like gravity is generous, like earth hopscotching across space, like I

am covering the earth’s center in an endless speech of easy wave.
It’s not because I want to stop another body from feeling

water pool small rings against skin or earth’s tongue sweep
search for another galaxy, its empire of surface trees and ultramarine

but who ever thought to tell a god what he could and couldn’t do?
The body is mostly water.

Freshwater hand, hand of sea.

Because I don’t want to have an abortion.

And gravity dances objects in space
to new captures and orbits, ice or ocean above/below/imagined

beating rain
beating sea

Because sometimes I want to have sex with men
and sometimes there’s a man who doesn’t listen, or doesn’t

listen long enough when you say you want
a condom. I think of my ribcage dotted over with veins

the fort wall containing a strange jungle—lungs, heart, liver
in a ruby mess of starless trees. An image of myself as a body:

object. In this world. A soft olive. A small microwave. A scissor or telephone.
Image of my body as a night wide as ocean’s perimeter lip. Because I want control

of my body, to decide about my body
small microwave that it is and also my body

is not a microwave or a phone like starfish are not stars and
the earth turning nightly in a sack of stars is another of earth’s small truths.

Gravity just another pull unspoken from the tight-fist element core
smoldering as galaxies ghost-creep through each other,
                                                                                               the water I am glimmering

Farryl Last holds an MFA in Poetry from Hunter College. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in SAND Journal, The Maine Review, Zone 3, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Willow Springs, among others. Born and raised in New York, she once lived in Mantova, Italy, and taught English there.