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“The ocean is suffocating.”
Dr. Bastian Queste (University of East Anglia’s School of Environmental Sciences)

Here is a place you walk into backwards,
hands held out before you to push back
the greying sky. One leg tense with the burden
of earth, the other, a jaunty angle
sinking in the bioluminescent green.
Here is a wind out of water, a transparent sheet
swaddling you back into the freedom offered
by thrashing four limbs, by holding your mouth
perfectly ajar like a grotto spitting bubbles.
Screw your eyes shut against the pressure
of lines in the floating page receding
above you. When fish pass you by,
measure your pulse by their dying breaths.
When bone-white coral scrapes your vertebrae,
remember the practised smile of the skull
on every sign that warned, ‘DANGER’.
When the bed breathes floating sand displaced
by your settling in, dream of nights
when stars were falling dust.



Krishnakumar Sankaran is a writer living in Mississauga, Canada. His work is forthcoming in the Watch Your Head anthology (Coach House Books, 2020). His work has been previously featured in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and Kindle Magazine. In India, he was shortlisted for the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize, 2011.
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