Size / / /


   Once the sea shifted swell, flush, afraid:
   I don't want to be, and alone
   and though not hungry, the sea starved.
   Story tells she tore a seam,
   spilled the contents of her stomach
   to shore til her mouth was clean—

   as in removal or erasure, not unsoiled.
   Her molecules unbloomed mountains,
   flayed them to swarming blossoms
   of rock-then-mineral. Cities levelled,
   dust unsettled, and storms ghosted
   into one another, unable to see.


   As omens go, doorways are dangerous:
   the sea subbed a missive for permission,

   restitched the sutures.  In or out
   or in-between histories gone missing—

   What of the squid? (Ink in drams.)
   The starfish? (Constellation compassed.)
   She didn't bother with banishing,
   with undoing; she just disastered.
   Debris regrafted tenuously, at first,
   to form New Earth, then fossilized.
   Storms tethered together to unwither
   where the sea had wrecked.


   Survivors didn’t believe the beginning
   so simple, so selfish—briny suicide,
   untide decided. Some rebuilt.
   Others fight or flighted
   and everything began again,
   as it always has, as it always
   will: with doorways, with leaving.
   Can't trespass without a boundary,
   can't abandon without erasure.
   The sea's fallen from our stories,

   the sky's taken a vow of silence—

Heather Sommer is an MFA candidate at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her words have appeared in Cider Press Review, decomP magazinE, Paperdarts, and Bank-Heavy Press' anthology Avoid Ninja Stars. She is not worried about the impending zombie apocalypse because she grew up in the Midwest.
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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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