I let the waves of your adoration envelop me,
Draw me in with invitations
Of fun and heat and freedom.
But when you shoved me
Back towards the sand
As you did inevitably,
You left tendrils of seaweed whiplashed
And deep impressions of foam on my heart
That always stayed too long
But you would never acknowledge.
Seashells tossed in the garbage
After a child’s beach adventure.
The seashells remember.
Yet the rush it felt to be cradled by your warmth
As I waded in once again
Drew me closer and closer to the deep,
Where I could dive down
But never reach the floor.
I knew your tides and I knew my own fears.
"I must not travel out too far.
Always keep land in sight.
I will lose myself if get too eager
And try to swallow the saltwater
That makes me float.
Consume too much and it will sap my organs of life,
Shrivel my insides and leave my body lifeless,
Too far for a lifeguard to see.
I must always keep near the shore.”
When I was twenty-one
I drowned in warm, calm waters.
September 2013/April 2014