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You said I wasn’t a moon,
but an edge of sunlight engraved
in the south Atlantic like a memory,
or an amen to a prayer,
that scurries away and hides for years. 

You are a whispering man
until you fall into a mass of screaming cells
and ascend to the sky, an explosion
of glass, ceramics, and skin. I hear each
go to sleep in the quiet snap of a petrified tear
jumping from the moon to my hair,
and I’m trying to love you like this. 

Touch my skin and teach me
what you’ve learned about air.
I know your face is tombstone,
fighting wars with sharks and cold water,
waves hissing at ocean, swallowing ruthlessly,
sand – I know I’ve eaten off the God in you. 

I touch the collision of a gull and my body.
I tremble like the volcano (maybe call me rage),
the dirt in your eyes saying “you’re good”
as you count scars, lose the sky, the air,
your bones. Molt your skeleton.
Feel my skin. We’re so tender underneath.
Sing the island, sing and palm skeletal shells. 

I have fragments of tears, and
a useless bag of silence, but I built a ship
out of sand and skin, tried to go back again.
I can’t sleep when you shiver like that,
a body of rattling bones, yes, I’ll have this noise
and carry it with me. I’ll feed your name to the sea,
gulping every claw or wail with the breath
of a thousand dying corals. 

A spine is distinguishable now. 
I, a moon fertilized in the Armageddon.
You never think, always writing over my tongue
“I'll float on an ocean” over “it’s not real”,
over “I wish I drowned today” over “rage,”
and I wrote your name where it could be 
washed away

– call me

© Shanice Hilliard . All Rights Reserved.