THE ISLAND WITHIN

I left again in the rain that erased me.

That’s why you can no longer see me.

Why you gaze at the curvature of earth to catch sight of the gray ship you dreamed left me at this shore where, perhaps, I may be saved.

The shipwreck delivered me back to the tempestuous sea and its salt that desiccated my skin to flimsy parchment paper in the burnishing sun.

I’m grateful you no longer witness how I carry my disfigured heart pumping outside of me, a broken fist from a violent fight with the galaxy.

The ship pilot’s sextant and charts were destroyed by the fire of which I can scarcely speak.

Its brilliant dragon flames, hi-lighter and goldfish orange—jerked my tongue inside out from me.

The pilot mumbled about fractured stars while he looked past night; the sky no longer a sky, but blackness.

His fear palpable—though he hid his face with the hood of his raincoat while with a velvet blanket, he gently covered my dress of silky cashmere, a gift before I had gone poor.

I felt like royalty. I can’t explain properly.

I slept in softness in the calm before my birth, before anyone knew me, asked of me, except the gods we had regrettably shattered, splintering all icons (because they would not intervene when we beseeched them to mitigate our suffering).

I still cannot pinpoint what invisible force catapulted me to the sea-slicked floor of the ship, though I try to recollect, but exhaustion sifts me smaller than grains of beach sand.

When I woke after what seemed like a tangled string of blurred days, the sun was climbing the sea’s horizon.

Sharp turquoise sea glass was unexplainably housed in my mouth that was bleeding.

The taste of iron calmed me because I knew I was, in fact, alive.

I don’t know how you should attempt to bring me back, find me.

It is deathly quiet on the island (and I can’t help but think of my own death) where the ghost ship delivered me before I wept at the bow, dreaming of my lost father, lost from my mother, brother, and me—lost from his lungs, from everything.

Yes, it is very quiet here. The quiet of one gone deaf after one could hear. An emptiness without music or resounding church—not even the thumping of the semi-crushed bird before it surrenders its feathers.

The hours have become very small.

Night is a new dress I wear; its sleeves stitched through my skin.

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