another ocean

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the ocean is thick with trash
the waves waddle towards the shore
like marshmallows, like winter coats
out of place

even so,
the water is beautiful
under this sunset sky

three birds flap peace to the wind

I hadn’t realized I’d been living so close to the ocean,
the girl from the landlocked state
chases water as a woman

you forget about the ocean
when you’re in the traffic
concrete thrown up into half-baked sidewalks

but here, something within me tells me to
unravel.
pause a little on this concrete shore
remember all the other times you were by an ocean like this

[riding with laughter and a friend on double bikes in Shenzhen
requesting 十年 to be sung on the shores of Taiwan
cousin hangman in the sand
the boy who told you the story of the snail and the rabbit on the extraterrestrial beach
brothers and Barcelona
shrubbery
. . .]

pocket the youth that escapes you
savor it all the while you grow up
on this side of the world

maybe that’s why the ocean reminds me to pause
the waves are always, rolling
back and forth
back and forth
never forgetting to play
always thick in reflection
of everything
under the sun

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In Favor of Bravery

Bravery felt like…

agony, for the longest time.

like a jostling of waves in a water-balloon-of-a-heart,

holding a shipwreck, exploding, contained only by the pale pink latex of its walls.

It felt like spiraling into a bad dream you choose,

on a pillow case overstuffed with doubt,

and waking up to find like a cat,

it was sitting there — on your face — every morning,

for a year.

It felt like running to the window with stubborn persistence,

to find the sun –

perpetually dressed, in a black cloak.

“It was chic,” he said. “It was magic,”

he laughed.

It felt like opening the door to find that you’re not much starter than he,

you left the house in a scratchy thick sweater,

made of butter,

in July.

It honestly felt like…

everyone in the “world” was doing the “normal” thing,

except you.

I(t) felt like, giving up, like coming up short.

It was an argument. A fight.

It felt like this, in fact — until it didn’t.

When I realized “normal” was black and white,

and I wanted to go chase the rainbow.

And then. Ha. And then…

it felt like the breaking of dawn.

Like the fullest breath I’ve ever dared to take, again and again.

Like walking to the ocean. Like taking a hike.

And then… I felt like doing it again.

fish bowl passenger

blown glass figurine, translucent, pristine

chin perched on elbow perched on knee, subway car seat

blown glass figurine, filled with waves like saltwater tears

she lets the waves crash up inside of her, jolting train threatening to shatter her

she holds her ground, however fast it moves beneath her

saltwater tears threatening their way up out of her, passing eyelid, passing eyeball, big salty gumdrops tumbling, iron-fisted

her heart the only bouey out to sea

glass like ice, heart like sun

she melts and the whole ocean breaks open like yolk that’s lost its captor, like sunlight over mountains, like grace like rain

flooding waters cleanse heart mind and soul

currents carry her to snow capped mountains and hot spring wells

she is bird, she is fish, she is free