Carry Me Out to the Open Sea

By Kayla Latta

I lie on the sand, and I think of my mother 

brushing my hair. Each stroke through my curls coincides 

with the crashing waves around my body. My scalp aches at the memory 

while my skin prickles from the rush of cold water and salt. I wish she were here, 

so she could wipe away the bits of seaweed and sand, the way she used to clear 

the sleep from the corners of my eyes. With each new wave, my body 

is coated in another layer of salt until I am encrusted. Crystallized. 

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When the tide comes in, I am carried out to the open sea. 

I float into the night like driftwood, or shipwrecks, or a heavy sigh 

released from heavy lips. Perhaps I will be taken to the edge of the world 

and fall right off. Hic sunt dracones. Here be dragons. I pray to the cold-water 

moon to bring me home. Push, pull, mother of tides, be my guide. Be my guide.

I hear her with the dawn. Quiet at first. Now louder. When she calls my name,

 my shell breaks into pieces that fall into the darkness below. There she is, 

tiny on the distant shore, still calling for me. I swim to her.