“Threshold Variations” by William Cordeiro

I face my warped reflection in a gloss of rollers shining back at dawn. Crosscurrents where the shifting sands I stand in torque. Each grain defected down its hourglass. The wrack line’s yeast-sour mutterings of matter

keep Novembering themselves, a flood-slurped hair folded into creases of olivine lather. Crinoline-like nubs of anemone budclusters withdraw envenomed radians. I luster
in the turns my life has taken & hereby elect a flashpoint of distinction: a shriek
that’s tethered to a smudge of gull—past the harvest of the gulf and the shore’s escarpment, each spurious and surf-rucked gutter. Reek of driftwood. Starfish fingers. Relic’d pelicans & errant herons & unhinged anhingas.

                                                                                   Something salt & sea-breeze can’t cure me of,
a novitiate who revises into silence. Liminal as every fate that meets

                                                        its parallel, a self I thought no                                                other

could violate, this jeweled sibilance which spills inside me. The waves, the waves would
transport each oiled prism of tanker fuel away. I’m spelled by currents, by cutwater, lured
by a treasured X & evermore skewered into ranker damages. I fever toward a restless estuarial mirage of islands: one sail veils a rhombus of horizon, an Icarian feather. I scoop a handful of luciferin. I wade in. I squint into bluer auras. Eras slewed before we ever met. Noon’s over- exposure, onrushing ocean in a clouded crux. I’ve resisted marrying this crush. Each scroll swells up & drags itself across the rut it’s made, back to the slurry every movement forms; secrets still unraveling, ravished by their telling no

closure through quantum foam: all flux & shuck. Eden catalyzed by breakers & stray noise
as spume slakes off a body

                                                        of wide water. My feet, sliding in the backwash, backsliding through the washboard, I stagger in the slavered sink of shivered gravel. Sea-raff & cracked cerithium, shellac & gristle. Denatured brainroots beached & desiccated. To stink & fester. Shoreline
littered with tackle exuviae gizzards riffled gunnel whelk & nacre. Half-rotten fish guts. Brittle-stars razor mussels mermaid purses. Bleached bladderwrack. Bottleglass. A sluff of cuttle. As all my intractable illusions cling to a tangled tremor of remembrance. Ember-wise. In the dream-while

                                                                                    I’ve been blown                      slowly apart by

retro-causation. Those days I held were lavished in the shadows they became, a face ripped from
the tidepool shallows. Hallowed in a groping hunch of blindsight. Each lonely ditch-pock oozes
a wave-sucked scuttled gurry—a river’s krill-lit silt swilling in its must-rich skirl. This inky pus that ribbons into the bay, lurks through riptides & algal blooms. Please, if you are willing, come
save me. Have me. Heave me. Tell me that we are things of water still. I’ve swallowed the sun
-drunk, porous, loosed debris I am. The mind is its desire: moon-collared contours of littoral, coral hunks that grind their marrow-innard rinds away. An hour melts. Fish shade like bruises, ricocheting beneath the surface, which frills & strafes across the rocky pitch at slack, at neap tide. Suffused.

              Used.                  Stunned.                                              —Yet still I slum through glyphs & trifles.

Reason musters up another reason why I’ve none. A keelson breaches in the brackish agar. Dusk augurs the collapse of each last leap year I’ve forgotten & been disremembered by. Lit up & down-

                                                         going, eyes brine like rinds of salted piers.
                                      …I’ve found a succulence I’ve foundered in.

Will Cordeiro has work published or forthcoming in AGNIBennington ReviewThe Cincinnati Review, DIAGRAMThe Threepenny ReviewTHRUSH, and elsewhere. Will won the 2019 Able Muse Book Award for Trap Street. Will is also a co-author of Experimental Writing: A Writers’ Guide and Anthology, forthcoming from Bloomsbury. Will co-edits Eggtooth Editions and teaches in the Honors College at Northern Arizona University.

If you purchase a book through the above Bookshop.org affiliate links, we receive a small percentage of the cost