In the froth of bubbles on the surface of your bath, I put to sea
a starfish-shaped cup.
In the cup was a figurine,
its species unclear—it looked like a pig monkey
floating in the shell of the boat, amid the bubbles.
Float, I said.
Float, you said.
You took the boat and pulled it under the bubbles toward yourself.
You tried then to float it again, filled with water.
But its inside and outside had become similar.
It no longer existed as boat.
It was in a state of fullness.
You did not understand,
as you had only recently entered your own boat.
I took the animal and the boat
and floated them together.
No, you said.
You pulled the boat and animal back under
and looked at me.
Swim, you said.
PETER STRECKFUS is the author of two poetry books: Errings, winner of Fordham University Press’s 2013 POL Editor’s Prize, and The Cuckoo, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2003. His poems appear in Chicago Review, The New Republic, Seattle Review, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day project. He lives in the Washington DC area and is on the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at George Mason University.