if you put the wind against your ear, you won't hear the ocean.
you might, however, hear the poem of a landlocked girl with wordless noise slipping from her fingertips. you might hear the way that my breath touches the edge of my lips. you might hear the old glories on my shoulder in the way that veterans talk about the old wars. if you listen hard enough, you might hear me talk about the scars and the way that they've faded, but how on cold winter nights, they still twinge. how they're old but the still bite. you won't be able to see me, but if you could, i would wink and tell you that i like the way that they pucker my skin, i like the reminder of where i've been – where the serrated edge was too quick for me to escape.
if you look straight into the ocean, you won't see the sky.
you might, however, see a breathless girl singing a song she has long forgotten. you might see the way that my fingers grab at the edges of my cotton skirt and the way my hair curls poetically against my unpoetic jaw. it won't matter the lyrics that i'm pushing from lung to tongue to lip, because it's the way that i sing that matters. if you look, you'll see that my skin is weathered, that my hands are calloused, that my lips are chapped. you might see that i have born the world upon my shoulders and that my knees have not buckled. you won't see strength and you won't see talent, but you will see passion. you'll see a girl that has stared into the center of the sun and never blinked just because she wanted to feel the heat.
and if you place the sky inside your mouth, you won't taste the wind.
you might, however, taste the last words that i whispered against your sleeping mouth right before i left. you might remember the soft curve of my shoulder and the way that my kisses always tasted like the sea. you might remember the day that i told you that i am not immortal, but my words will be – right before i carved them into the eroding sandbank. a contradiction, you had called me, and i had corrected you and told you that i was life. i was the running water falling down your limbs and the heated nails tearing up them. i was both sleeping lethargy and energized laughter – i pulled you from your bed and forced you to stare into the center of your dreams. so when you listen to the wind, stare at the ocean, taste the sky – remember that i am there even if you never saw it. even if you never felt it, believed it, knew it to be true. i was there in the roar of the ocean, in the blanket of the night sky, in the bitter freedom of the wind.
(i am there.)