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Lindita I know I missed your party I'm sorry but look
find me a sheet of seaweed and I'll draw you this
It won't be a good picture but it's one you can keep

This is cold land, like the land that used to be above water
but it's made of ice and it's colder than the coldest current
whiter than white coral, whiter than surf, do you know
the word, lindita? Glacier, an old old word we kept—
Even when the surface land disappeared, we knew ice
would come back again, a block of white ice so tall but
growing so deep, like an upright whale but bigger than any whale

Mira, even your ma listens, even though she's mad at me
Look at her, look how many things you'll feel one day
Mad I missed your songs, happy that I'm here
Sad a current's gonna take me, hope that one brings me back

+

Siéntate, baby girl, let me echo what I've seen
Fine, don't sit still, your ma says I can't ask that
when I haven't been still a day in our lives, see how she
remembers? Mira, my school found a lost place,
I never thought I'd see it with my eyes, lemme show you

We found the bones of a city, a city like ours
shaped with ice beams, cold as ice but not ice
Next time you find whale bones—ok ok your ma says
not to look for whale bones (but if you should find them)—
People lived on land closed into big bodies out of water
We wondered how they did it, and now we know

They built whales on upper land, made bones for shapes
The old people to keep warm, they made their own blubber
and they made their own skin for the whales they lived inside.
Mira eso—even your ma wants to know my stories, ha!

+

Baby girl, why are you up so late? Didn't your ma—
ah, I see, you wanted to wait anyway. Come on, let's—
What? Lindita, I promise, I'm not hiding a secret pod from you
If I have any pod, it's you and your ma and your parents
it's you and your siblings, if I have any pod you're in it

I'm not alone—I have a school, and friends like you do,
I promise, I'm not alone—but why should that scare you?
Look at the water around us, full of plankton and shrimp and
things so small we can’t name them—doesn't mean they
aren't there. Look at where we are—how can you be lonely
even if you find yourself alone?

Can you sleep yet? Do you want me to talk science at you
until you feel sleepy—baby, is that what you're scared of?
Listen—one day you're gonna find yourself out in the ocean,
in the world, and you're gonna stop and feel the electric
heartbeat of the entire world in the water around you—
down here, no one is ever alone.

+

Ma, you're up early, but no partners, no calves—? Don’t you
trust me to leave? Let's see, this time I'm going up to find
the water bears of the north, the ones who went into the ocean
like seals instead of trying their luck on land as it disappeared
They're only dangerous when they're hungry, but that goes for
just about everything in the world. Ma, are you hungry?

No, not for food, but I see it in your face, I'm suspicious, ma—
Should I stop coming? Should I come less? Is it the leaving?
Girl, I can up wake earlier, I can wake up, leave earlier so
you never have to watch me go. No, no—I can't stay. No.
Not for your partners. Not for your pod. Not for you.

You think on what love is, that love you say I don't have
but there's as much love as there's coral in the ocean
and life in the world—yours isn't mine, mine isn't yours
Isn't it enough that I come back? Isn't it enough that you
are the one I find, over and over again? Of everything
in the ocean, in the world, you're the one I discover
time and time again

You are enough to me
Let me be enough




Michelle Vider is based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in The Toast, The Rumpus, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Open Letters Monthly, Atlas and Alice, and elsewhere. Find her at michellevider.com and @meanchelled.
Current Issue
26 Feb 2024

I can’t say any of this to the man next to me because he is wearing a tie
Language blasts through the malicious intentions and blows them to ash. Language rises triumphant over fangs and claws. Language, in other words, is presented as something more than a medium for communication. Language, regardless of how it is purposed, must be recognized as a weapon.
verb 4 [C] to constantly be at war, spill your blood and drink. to faint and revive yourself. to brag of your scars.
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