The whole time you’ve been writing and thinking ocean because it is unknown, because it’s your life. Because you have the brightest terror, like following a white feather into the street. You want it so badly. Would you call that desire? Would you call it love? When you can’t see your legs because of the dark. But did you want to see what was happening? Every life form skidded by. The human products bobbing and sinking. Was that seaweed, we always said it was. The helicopter above seemed to be going somewhere but then it just cycled around the clouds. You thought of churning butter, street crimes, richness, fame. What small dot were you to the motor in the air, only human because of your lack of grace, your head that needed to be above to live. A shape inside the shapeless. Not able to rid shape. Even when brought under, the shape stays, though flattened. The eel is the snake and the manta ray the bat. Transformations in the underworld proliferate and you are unable to stand on your head or hold your sister. Your skin wears the same dint with cosmetics. Your blink, that fear, displaced, running.

Copyright © 2022 by Jennifer Firestone. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 12, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.