Back from Mexico we plunge into life
again (the laundry untamed; the dishes caked),

like we had plunged
into the ocean, pelicans overhead. The air clung

to us like cellophane around a fresh tattoo.
I’m not sure when it changed, this lenience

within me. The sky was so large it seemed to swallow
the sun, us along with it. We were no more

than the shells, shifting palms, or even the beached pufferfish
deflated like a balloon after a party has ended.

I almost pitied it, the pufferfish—eyes like pressed
obsidian, its pock-marked body and spikes

like icicles or the barbed cactus skin I wear
on days I can’t be touched.

Despite our attempts, it returned
to shore and each time pierced me.

Without ignoring or forgetting the fish—all its venom
and viciousness—we continued our walk. The sting

having lost its novelty.