Gemma Cooper-Novack

Once on a Ghost Ship (6)

It was just like that time
on the train, but saltier: her curls fanned
easily where my thigh met upholstery,
all of her under my lip. Also, it went on
for weeks, then weeks. Everything was wood
and leather here, meant to be hardy in sea air;
she told me everything she knew about beaches
and she could have been insulting
me or adoring me, the way the vowel
spread the length of her tongue. She whispered
into our cold clear dark you love me?
you love me? and I answered with stars,
stars by the thousands, like salt where we folded.

Gemma Cooper-Novack’s debut poetry collection We Might As Well Be Underwater, a finalist for the Central New York Book Award, was published by Unsolicited Press in 2017. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in more than twenty journals and been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net Awards. Her plays have been produced in Chicago, Boston, and New York. Gemma was a runner-up for the 2016 James Jones First Novel Fellowship; she has been awarded artist’s residencies from Catalonia to Virginia and a grant from the Barbara Deming Fund. She is a doctoral student in Literacy Education at Syracuse University.