Because it was cold in the surf and you went off on that dead shark, pissed about the morning when we tossed confetti like rocks, you had grass in your socks and you told me the field, in all its viridescent moodiness, was going to save your life. You didn’t even ask if I could save your life. I have this problem where I think if I just try a little harder, I can do it. I can protect you the way you need me to. I don’t know what that way is yet, but do you remember the day we bent like the oak trees and you had a salt cube under your tongue for the dizziness, and we were mimicking the way branches sometimes move in that way where you think to yourself, I’m not alone in this forest, all the ghosts of my past are here too, and each time they catch me starting to doubt they start shaking acorns loose and those are the days we sit at the table and we say what happened to us, without saying that stuff, we can name things like loss or ache or exhaustion. Half asleep on the patio out back and you bring me a blanket, but you won’t ask how I am doing. When you go back inside, I cry. Anyways, I’ve been meaning to ask if you’re going to bring the shells home with you. I watch as you near the coves, slick grey rocks working as shelter for lobsters and sea glass, you dip your hand in the pool even though it’s February and snowflakes freeze in spores on the surface. I want something to remember you by. I want you to give more than you have, or maybe more than you can. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night, and you’re gone, and I think to myself, you’re out there, preferring to tell secrets to jellyfish all lilac and dead on the shore.
Sam Moe is the first-place winner of Invisible City’s Blurred Genres contest in 2022, and the 2021 recipient of an Author Fellowship from Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Her first chapbook, “Heart Weeds,” is out from Alien Buddha Press and her second chapbook, “Grief Birds,” is forthcoming from Bullshit Lit in April 2023. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram as @SamAnneMoe.