Mud Baths, Vulcano — Abigail Cloud

Where fat doesn’t matter, or bones,
bodies ideal and folded into the murk,
skins unfamiliar under the sludge

patted into wrinkles, over scars
and freckles. Take the healing
of it, years stripped down by elements

erupting from beneath your feet.
Wear what can be eaten
into rags. Understand why

when waistbands fall away,
straps shrivel—No amount of rinsing
will end this crumbling. Want

the shedding to be that complete,
a sloughing of everything worn.
Leave your hard layers behind

on this island, shells cradled deep
in the mire, to be sifted and rubbed
over other bodies that need to crack.


Abigail Cloud is Editor-in-Chief of Mid-American Review and teaches full time at Bowling Green State University, from which she received an MFA. Poetry credits include The Gettysburg Review, APR, Pleiades, and The Cincinnati Review. Her poetry collection, Sylph, won the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize and was published in 2014 by Pleiades Press.