• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 03
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Why She Keeps the Ocean Close

Friends and family think that she is burrowed
into the America of townhomes, drywall,
and numbered highways, of tenure
and ten-page papers.

But she has turned her bath into an ocean;
once-warmish water green with bath salts
from the mall consoles her.   She fixes her gaze
on the painted cliffs almost effaced by fog and sunlight.

She wills the specks of mold to become
seabirds, more than just gulls.
She hears them caw and call,
sees them swoop over the stony beach.

The selkies, her imaginary friends,
perch on the plaster-white bathtub,
perch on her clean-shaven thigh.
Like the cool girls, their seaweed hair flows.

They have all the time in the world
while she does not.  They look at her
blankly.  She wrinkles her nose
at their brackish scent.

They do not blink.  She imagines
the salt pervading each drop of ocean.
She will stay past tepid. She will stay
until bracing, until red and wrinkling.