Hepatic Coma – by LeeAnn Olivier

Manta rays wrangle
in tanks of ink, spider-webbed
ghost-crabs scrape the night-

scented street. The sea
this evening washes maps of
germplasm on its

banks. Intravenous
pumps beep and sputter, the glut
of white noise plunging

me underwater
where feral muses warble
over parasite

flights of silverfish.
Maybe they’ve kept me here hunched
and feral gnawing

on roots and bark in
a dark crook of their dream, as
I croon for all I

might lose. Memories
tangle in these brain coils,
Titian-red, teeming

with weeds that flay me
as I try to wade home. I
will not drink from the

stream of Lethe, its death
like ink laced with salt. Outside
the ICU sky-

light’s frosted sliver,
the moon stalks, nervy as an
onion. I chase

my pulse like a bone-
hungry ghost, my lungs purpled
over with drowning.


LeeAnn Olivier is the author of two chapbooks, Doom Loop Wonderland (The Hunger Press, 2021) and Spindle, My Spindle (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2016). A Louisiana native, Olivier teaches English at a college in Texas and lives with her partner Nathan and their three rescued pets. She is a survivor of domestic violence and breast cancer. Her poems in Rockvale Review focus on her recent experience approaching death and receiving an emergency liver transplant. She is very grateful to her donor and an incredible group of friends, colleagues, and family members who supported her during this ordeal.