Sensory Deprivation Floats: A Groupon by Lisa Fay Coutley


Because the week I turn forty, a giant
squid washes ashore. It’s the week I want

to say water cannot help anything, reaching
without touch, without hold. Pushing away.

This week, its twenty-third storm this year
plumes China & I never smell rain’s metal

or know the impossible cold of the same
wet clothes against my heart & my legs

flood-deep for days. Dream of that cave
where stalagmites stand forever without

knowing the pink disc singes the slate
sky & the light divides & conquers

the greatest lake inside you because
forty & still you cannot forget

love as another word for longing
to float, deprived of sense, robbed

of that manhole lid in your chest
pulsing midair & the weather in that

cave all your own, your own cloud
suspends while every drop of water

falling salutes. Who will miss this
me in that city of dripstone? Imagine,

kraken leaving such a hole by leaving
we celebrate life in sound- & light-

proof pods that host sensory deprivation
atop buoyant, body-warm saltwater this

week & last week & next because you
are the you who you wish to forget.



Lisa Fay Coutley is the author of ERRATA (SIU, forthcoming 2015), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award and In the Carnival of Breathing (BLP, 2011), winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition. Her poetry has been awarded a fellowship from the NEA, scholarships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, and an Academy of American Poets Levis Prize.