Velveeta is orange like the seam where the earth
pops its stitches.
Valerie is holding out her sandwich from
the top of the beach. It is an orange mouth between two
slices of wonder bread oozing with
The rest of the day is pearly wet gray rocks
and sky. Water in Halibut Cove is the blackest green
you can imagine and our bodies are whiter for it,
our flesh something close to organic in
saggy snoopy underwear.
The water calls us only to spit us out, our whole
skin is stinging paper cuts. Too much salt, too
cold for natal fantasies. It is the tiny, trilling
brush of death that keeps us shrieking and
rushing the shore.
But Valerie is holding out the Velveeta sandwich
from midway up the beach. I am
new and know nothing of religion but I know
a lot about reverence—once
I went to Catholic mass after a sleepover
with Samantha and was deaf to all the words but I still
feel the cool stalactites of my fingers
dripping with holy water. Everyone played
in puddles there.
The rocks are smooth and painful on my bare feet as
I bite and bite.
Valerie wraps me in a wet towel.
Something close to organic, something orange against the
hollow, teeming curve of the bay
that goes on with or without our daily assault.
Something made to sit for years without
decay and melt dangerously on blue, half-numb
tongues. Something plasticine and forever and human against the
spill of life—the
most sinful food I’ve tasted.
Nikki Ervice is a professional dancer and writer from Alaska living in New York City. This is her debut poetry publication.