this was years ago.
the first time I told them about it.
sitting on the edge of the bay
on a borrowed blanket, vomiting up
an Everclear Slurpee
and peeling back the bottom
of his parent’s quilt realizing
I had covered the entrance of the
ghost crab’s home.
taken by the dirt under my thumbnail,
the coil of a plastic straw and
embroiled in my own
about the closing of the day;
the way it moved–
like an itinerant wave that followed me
—and only me–
I coughed that up second
to tell him
the rituals were there to
keep me safe.
the tide crept back
and I heard him light a cigarette,
felt myself starting to drown again
and then his hand on my thigh,
nails in my skin,
then nothing at all.
pain subsides in very
if you don’t
(do not repeat the story)
my head is eighteen visions a second:
someone getting their face smashed
with a brick, someone getting into
a plane, slicing the skin of my fingers,
budding inability to swallow (we’re there)
blood. blood. a girl that follows me
and only me, everywhere.
and matching the numbers to the proper
order. reorganizing mantles.
bleaching my teeth and
every inch of my house.
first, you have to feel safe.
I begin to build the glass
and turning to you again, I
implore you to pick a title and
stick with it. for me, I say
cupping your baby soft chin,
(despite your fear of frozen lakes,
we advise you when the time comes–
between Australia and Alaska,
Alaska will be more safe):
do you like warnings or do you
like to drown?