Plain China

On the Nights My Lover Dreams of Drowning

by Amber Rambharose · University of Cincinnati
Beautiful Danger, Katie Wilson · Ohio State University
I think about the bullet in his wrist that still floats
between radius and ulna. In the wake of his thrashing,


his quiet shatter-sounds, I have heard, murmured, the stories
that pool beneath his eyes each morning. I have learned


that there are times when the decision must be made not to cut
through muscle, to let shrapnel swim forever.


Sometimes, half-dreaming, I am caught in black water that beads
his back with sweat and then his terror is more real to me


than the eighty-six seconds I was held underwater by a cousin
tired of my playing in her pool, more real


than the beach-ball grin death wears when you are
six years old and drowning. I stroke his back,


try to pull him to the surface. On the midnights
when he twists against a tide I cannot see, I am afraid


to touch his face. I am frightened he will feel
my love and feel himself held under.
About the Author

Amber Rambharose · University of Cincinnati

Amber Rambharose is a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati and an assistant editor at YesYes Books. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Thrush Poetry Journal, Muzzle Magazine, Whiskey Island, and elsewhere. “On the Nights My Lover Dreams of Drowning” first appeared in The Adroit Journal, an unaffiliated international literary journal edited by undergraduates.

About the Artist

Katie Wilson · Ohio State University

As an art student at Ohio State, Katie Wilson has enjoyed exploring her fascination with dreams through her artwork; they can be difficult to explain, she says, yet often leave a lasting impression. That inexplicable, powerful presence is what she seeks to recreate in her photography. Beautiful Danger first appeared in Mosaic.