“It’s so beautiful I could die,”
I say one hundred times a day,
pupils and everything attached
to them trained on the place
where the mirror-white surf smashes
in a roiling, unbreaking mass against
the jagged rock-line that is
the shore here, as if
my little, or not-so-little, or
could make one single atom
of difference to the way the water,
rippling and whole and drawing out
in mappable, trackable patterns,
like lungs, but lungs not subject
to the endless, oxidizing decay
of the wonder-gasping pair I keep
locked behind ribs I have felt
but never seen, ribs I take
on faith, if faith
is a word we’ll allow
into the same room
Sidney Dritz is (currently, constantly) reevaluating what to do with the rest of her life. She finished her three-college tour of America at the University of Southern Maine, and her poetry has appeared in Glass Poetry Press’s #PoetsResist series, in Claw & Blossom, and in Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters. She writes about movies and television in the Stream Queens column at @dailydrunkmag, and is on Twitter as @sidneydritz.
Before the call, my mother said not everything
is a mythology, you know, and I didn’t believe it.
I walked to memorial museums, joined huge
unrepentant crowds, crowned myself a spelunker
of memory. Said better place; said I’m sorry;
said nothing. Before the call, I imagined it should
be easy. Losing someone, I mean. But I couldn’t look
him in the eye, before, I am weak
and too weak to admit it. His bone light, his death
rushing dagger-toothed and vicious. And of course
I’d loved him, but I’d stopped remembering
the words. That is an excuse. How I said I didn’t believe
in the public memorials, but I was part
of the same crowd that negotiated our survival
as holy, the same crowd that haloed
around a grave without grieving. How I was light,
and noisy, and full of sea. How I thought
I had mastered anguish. And then
I picked up the call. Then I kept
picking it up forever.
Gaia Rajan lives in Andover, MA. She’s the Managing Editor of The Courant and the Poetry Editor of Saffron Literary. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in diode, DIALOGIST, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Split Lip Magazine, Hobart, Rust+Moth, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, “Moth Funerals,” is forthcoming from Glass Poetry Press in fall, and she is a National Student Poet semifinalist. She is sixteen years old, and tweets @gaia_writes.
In the grey of the pre-dawn you stand near the stones—look but don’t touch—and even though you are there for the history you feel a tingle, a strangeness, a line calling you backwards through a million other pre-dawns, a million other people standing where you now stand thinking about stones and essays and breakfast and rituals and time—the sheer effort to get them here—and they tower over you, encircling you, and you stand near the edge because to be in the centre would be too much, all that cold grey attention focused down on you, and across the plain you can hear the birds shouting at the sky—worth dragging yourself out of bed so early—and in a few minutes the light will creep in through the gaps and turn grey into gold but for now it’s just you and the stones and the almost-but-not-quite light in the sky.
It is summer and the stars are swimming in the ocean. I tell you this on a warm June night when the deep velvet-blue waters are still, barely a ripple tickling the shore, and the constellations as low within that darkness as they are bright and high above.
I tell you this from deep within myself, so deep I am surprised you can see me or hear me at all.
You laugh and tell me I am too flighty, too dreamy, too easily distracted. I should turn my head away, you say, and let those waters be. They may be calm now, but if the weather changes they will rage against us and the cliffs, and there will be no escaping them.
The starry sea tells me otherwise; it needs no raging swells to ensnare me.
The brightest star in the ocean floats deeper even than it looks. I swim down and down until my burning breath bursts out around me in a curtain; a hundred bubbles, each one embedded with a star. I watch them rise, grasping for their sisters in the heavens.
Sarah McPherson is a writer and poet from Sheffield in the UK, with work published/forthcoming in Splonk, STORGY, Emerge Literary Journal, Fudoki Magazine, The Cabinet of Heed, Riggwelter, and elsewhere. She has been long/shortlisted in competitions including Writers’ HQ and Reflex Fiction. She tweets as @summer_moth and blogs at https://theleadedwindow.blogspot.com/.