Moving its translucent mass through the watery
shadows of the dock and then, past the dock (some-
thing so real which now is not), the jellyfish
swam in its slow float while we (I and my daughter,
then just three) ran back and forth predicting that limp
pink gleam and each embodiment it would seem.

“A jello umbrello!” she began and turned
to me expectantly. Censoring (an after-
birth, broken veins, or Medusa’s myth, the monstrous
queen made mortal and mother), I stood in silence
until it ended with a shout: the jelly-
fish glided out.  Now months have passed, but surprise!

“The jellyfish was in my eyes!” Caroline calls
while caught between depth and surface of a dream.
“It bleeded and it singed!” Her conjugations
soon will exact simple irregularities
and tensing will be not verbs but time’s tentacles
untangling her parachute, waving at me.

Susan Kinsolving’s books include The White Eyelash, Dailies & Rushes (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award) and Among Flowers. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications including The New York Times Book Review, Poetry, Yale Review and The Paris Review. She has taught at numerous universities, including Bennington and CalArts. Several of her poems have been set to music and performed in the United States and abroad.

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