• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 03
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Of Land and Sea

Before I’m born, my fisherman father
feeds my mother fresh scallops
from the boat’s daily haul. My blood and bones
formed of strong sea muscle and salt.

I grow up plucking pickled herring from jars
like candy, and ripping apart the jagged claws
of lobsters the same way gluttonous gulls smash
into the spiny bodies of sea urchins.

But I’ve had to adapt, evolve to living inland.
Still, it feels all wrong. The air empty of iodine,
no scent of dried seaweed or tidal decay,
waves lapping on repeat through a sound machine.

This middle life, a purgatory. Even along the coast,
I was still tethered to the ledge of land.
I remember the harbor seal's eyes,
little black saucers as dark as the ocean floor

looking up into mine, wide mirrors of blue sky,
how he never seemed that bothered,
gingerly lifting his head, knowing even if I wanted to,
I couldn’t follow him back into the deep.