Self-Love

Treading

 

One arm dips into the Mediterranean,
a salt bath, a perfect straight shot down
to the blanket of urchins basking in the crooked
beams of sunlight, swimming. I arrived
about thirty days ago from a “break,”
a half-relationship, two years of listening
and re-promising to act better, yet I still sleep alone
most nights. So I split from Montana to Mykonos
with baggage heavier than my bones that are stuck
on the other side of this cheap
metal boat, white paint chipping
to reveal rusty muscle. The driver keeps shouting
thick Greek commands to me while I play
with the purple ties of my swimsuit bottom,
fake plastic shells intertwined with the tassels.
With a staggered breath, nose-plugged, stomach
sucked in, heart a lot of miles divided, I jump,
my toenail polish scraping the lip of the boat.

Bursting through the surface, I can feel
a layer of ocean on my mouth,
my tongue stinging. I shiver, like I did
last night when I realized I didn’t need to buy
a magnet for our fridge because maybe all
we are anymore is a box of souvenirs—
homemade birthday cards, Rubik’s Cubes,
a couple good moments shoved into a rent controlled
apartment and a Valentine’s Day vase the dog broke.

The air conditioner instructions
were all unreadable so I pulled the sheets
up to my nose, a foreign suffocation, much like
these waves that knock me back.
I lay face up, spine straightening, suspended
on clarity, floating between the lulls of the motor
turning off as the rest of me paused, broke, and bobbed
between puzzle piece islands, some sort of big longitude
to match the lateral, a girl
without a single pinpoint.

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