Poem by Ariela Hercek
I have forgotten how to belong
to an ocean,
its slip and slide licking my skin
like an ancient lover licking strawberry juice
off my fingers all those years ago,
wailing steadily in my dreams still,
like a church bell calling me to mass —
except it never stops ringing.
Forgetting is easier than convincing
my dreams to stop haunting
me with demons I’d already exorcised
by purging my body with words and
no small amount of tears, yes,
this, too, is a relic of how I once loved the
ocean but forgot its power until
it seized a part of me that is
so unforgettably human.
This is the part where I have to
admit that I am
not a goddess.
I did not crawl out of sea foam,
or roll gracefully out of a shell,
my making was forceful,
I was a child born of wrong kind of love,
I stood up from the waves with hair
green with algae, rusty nails and bones seething with anger,
I was a monster before I was ever anything else,
how sad that it took you cracking my ribcage open
like an egg
for me to evolve into
something earthly and divine.
Originally published in Issue XVIII in May 2019.