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Poetry by Nicolle Chantal Moffat

I Remember the Time Adrian Told Me there’s a Certain Kind of Magic

To Cities Warm Enough to Wear Shorts Every Night

once the clothes have slivered off in sweat-stilled air and you’re faced

with your other skin, the one

beneath the skin beneath your skin, the one

you can never shed—

the kind that holds you together

that you will later come to resent for its intricacy, for its mothering—

and in its grafting of your sensibility along an amber skyline

you flower like seafoam.

Because you know that what you really need is to fall apart

to lap back and forth loose like wave over wave

blue over green over blue

unraveled and spun, sometimes.

My hand is on her knee and she’s crying to me but

tears are not tears

when your toes are dipped into the coast;

the sea knows its own;

a force that beckons our memories out of the body to break

upon the sand.

The words that hide behind the words behind the bodies, when two bodies

and skin and the colors of a sunset soaked into his grip

while she leaned over the pier to tell him that somewhere something is writhing

against the surface and slipping off the page

and breaking the ripples and kissing the tide:

the very last body, the very last word

to make the rest

make sense.

So we swim once the sky is dark and I lick the salt off my arm

and wash myself in water cool enough to feel the moon dripping down my back

and I’m back in shorts and she’s wiped off her face

and we’re barefoot down the street back to the motel

much farther than we started and without any answers.


Nicolle Chantal Moffat is a poet from Los Angeles. She studied at University of California, Berkeley, where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature. When she is not playing with her cat Amelia, she is building weird websites, loitering local parking lots, grazing the coats aisle of Salvation Army, and attempting to put into words what cannot be put into words. Her work is forthcoming in The Penn Review.


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