Sea Salt

Sea Salt

On our first trip to the beach together I cut my foot on sharp rocks lining the shore and watched the ocean lick the crimson clean off, the salt on my tongue a slight distraction from the deep blue, the wide open, the playground sting. I’m sorry my flesh is softer than it has to be, my skin thinner than yours. I’m sorry there are parts of me I have scrubbed raw, hurt; I only wanted to be polished, untainted, good

as new. I’m sorry I didn’t see the waves crashing, didn’t see any of this coming; I’m sorry I wasn’t careful, or strong. When the sea soaked up my blood that day I thought maybe it needed to drink too, needed to kiss, needed to need. I thought maybe you had always been right — when you drain my body of tears you also drain it of salt and dust so that you can shrink me down two sizes smaller and I can fit neatly into your life without taking up too much space, so that you can carry me with you wherever you go, to cities and mountains and valleys and all the oceans

you’ve never explored. Tell me, please, if you find something. Tell me if you need me to search, too. Tell me if there are places you still have to visit, things you still have to unearth. Tell me if there’s any way to love you, deep blue and wide open, soft and scrubbed and thin, flesh and skin, shrinking bones, raw parts, any way at all, without letting myself bleed.

shallow body, 2014 by Caitlin Hazell

NOTE: This poem is part of “Pethetic Little Thing,” curated by Tavi Gevinson. Read the rest of the portfolio in Poetry’s July/August 2015 issue.
Source: Poetry (July/August 2015)