by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach [easy-media med=”8423″ mark=”gallery-X6KM1h”]
Our lips wilted then, under the sun
on the banks of the Dead Sea,
with her at my feet and her feet
in the dying water, the salt pooling
around her toes and nothing growing
inside her sun-softening belly, and nothing
living in milky saline or heavy heat, hungry
for moisture.

From below, she scooped mud,

the color of settled ash. With hands spread open
over skin that feared new skin, she let
the thick mask fall and make her tender,
touch her hair, eyes, navel, until all pink flesh
was sealed in earth only the desert light
could crack.

I followed, working all that darkness

deep into myself to turn the aging body back
to untouched skin. And in the water, we floated
belly-up like dead fish breaking through
the leaden surface of the green, touching
scales to sun for the first, last, only time.

We let it eat away at us until only newborn
flesh was left, until the sea had boiled us
out of itself back onto the blackening sand.


in my own hands, where cloudy salt water
still pooled, her head sank soft, soaking in
the light, the way dusk overflows a fading sun,
and I felt generations

rouse under her skin.

2 thoughts on “Rejuvenation

  1. tim dyson says:

    Like so many poems I read these days, I look for one bit, one piece that seems to spark an interest. Ever since I began reading Ashbery late in my writing life, I hope only for a sense of order or logic or even, commonality. I found little to latch on to in this poem but that’s just me. The poem, as Ashbery reminds us, is you.


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