by KATE GARDNER (United States)
Issue 2.1 April 2020
And all the waves are lapping at the seabed, soft cheek and thigh
and belly fat of sand. They take quiet sips, flush and full with
stinging roughness, flush against the coolness of the cat-tongued
And there they cradle me, pea-hen gently, my hairline oiled
and slicked with salt. Light as a breath, I slip between the layers,
folding like a doll, or a cut of cloth.
And so the tide unfurls me along its swells, pulling my weft
by the tail of its crest. It tarries at the breakers, leaving me
to settle in an eddie.
And in the swirls I wane, ’til I am just a crescent lid half shut
against the sunlight. My tip toes are scummy with the sea, my
eyelids too, cut by every knuckle that mares the sea edge, by every
barnacle and stone,
by every hook and trawler.
I float so long that even a fresh cup of water would taste
sweet, I float so long that the boundaries of skin fade to
And the sea has many teeth, far more than I. But if we are one
then I have all the same teeth as the sea, then it has all the same teeth
And my skin is its skin, my warmth is its warmth, I am a satellite
just caught up in some greater thing, swelled by the protruding
veins of moonlight, pulled and culled.
There is no need to reach, not to move or touch. I already know Sicily
and Guinea and Seychelles, I already know Trinidad and
Denmark and Sandwich.
I inhale, and stretch through the Ganges, through deltas
through Delaware, the Amazon and Hudson.
I know each canal, all my valves, opened, closing
and closing my eyes, let me sink.
Kate Gardner, 16, is a painter and writer from New England. When on the ocean, she imagines that the world is as large and mysterious as it seemed during childhood. Sometimes she drinks her tea out of gravy boats, because the mugs in her house are too small.