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I'm shooting flares that were never meant to be seen by passing ships,

sometimes at night I fire one off to remember what hope feels like,

and just bathe in the bright ember red praying that no one’s close enough to see -


Because I put myself here, shoulded and shamed myself until I walked off the pier,

built a life raft out of the backyard swimming pool I had when I was three,

decided it could take me across all seven seas,

but in order to get there I had to build the ocean.


I sat and prayed for the flood for thirteen days, on my knees raw with blood

on bedroom floors pulling threads from the rug and watched as it disappeared

until all that was left was the outline of my resilience

apathetic and worn like the day you told me

I would find an answer,


the threads became the clay I could shape

because metal can’t hold your wrists,


handcuffs and knives can’t flip the script

on the thick sweat of delusion,

the enthusiastic voice that tells us all we can do it alone,

but every time you wipe your forehead it perspires again in the heat of embarrassment,

the shame that maybe you can’t,

so we climb mountains,

we find islands,

we go to the depths of space because exploring ourselves is far more terrifying -


What if we can’t explain what we find?

What if we can’t bring light to the cognitive dissonance of existence,

the difference between unconditional acceptance and rejection is the thin line on the horizon,

not knowing if the sun is sinking or rising and you just have to wait -


No looking back on a world through a small window of detachment,

the distance swallowed by the vacuum of emptiness feels more like home than your own skin,

the stars a backdrop of holes you punched through the paper just to see the other side,

only to find they are both the same,

or where you tried to erase the permanent marker the things that you’ve said,

and now that bright light is full of regret, the only reminder a small scrap of paper you discarded

like the notion that you could be anything some day,

now recycled back into the reams of the journal that brings you catharsis,

like re-experiencing artwork

it’s the same piece of paper,

just different.


Your arms extended like the curve of the earth,

your fingertips fjords that could wrap around me,

slowly push their way into the ocean like white gloves on dust,

and I am the waves crashing against you, trying to wear you down until you just fade away,

stop reaching not because I don’t want to be saved,

it’s only this shame like a tidal from tectonic plates shifting,

earthquake ripping shreds little threads,

the ripples breaking out from the moments I was too caught up in to be anything but the sand that falls through your fingers,

the same pieces of you that fall into me when I crash against you,

how can you keep reaching into ocean only to pull up dust? 


You are better off without me.

I am the kind of current that carries you away,

I will drag you along in the undertow,

throw you against the reef,

toss you until the tide goes out,

at least that's what I keep telling myself.


But you say, I am a tall glass of water, not the kind that's half-empty,

the kind that's overflowed so drag me in the undertow because you're the same ocean spray that gives life to the moss,

the ferns along the coast,

and if you could be the leaf that holds the perfectly peaceful water droplets after the rain that is all you would need. 

But here I am, in the middle of the ocean, sinking into myself,


but still sinking.  

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