Arielle Kaplan

How I Felt the First Time I Tried It
September 22, 2023 Kaplan Arielle

How I Felt the First Time I Tried It


Like a clam’s tongue muscling
a speck of sand     swollen
soft inside of a cheek
chasm bitten in sleep
like a skate’s blade teasing
ice     the surface trembles
but stays     the winter-furled
knot of a goose’s neck
loosening to thread
unstitching     a socket
snapped     ringing filament
bright sting of saltwater
in an eye     like a nail
jutting from a floorboard
an iron incisor
savaging skin open
like a door     the metal
carves a livid mouth


Arielle Kaplan is a poet and educator from Philadelphia. She holds an MFA from Boston University, where she was the recipient of a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. She is a member of AGNI’s editorial team and teaches writing in the Boston area. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Rust & Moth, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. Find her at