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the woman and the sea

i've only been kissed with butter knives,
their dangerous abilities carefully masked
with an image of innocence and tenderness.
it was only when I finally pulled away
and saw my saliva on his mouth - a deep red,
when i realized those kisses were killing me.

never came a time where i was worth more than
a puppet with swift hands ruling my every move,
leaving me stiff and worn away when not in use.
balling up in a fetal position on the cold floor
i'd scratch at my wrists with razor blades
to cut away the strings that tied me to him.

i was stuck, but he made a single fatal mistake:
he threw me out in the dark on a fledging night
where the sky glittered of the most beautiful stars.
so i followed constellation after constellation
until i stumbled upon an anomalous river shore
with the strongest waves i had ever encountered.

i jumped to what i thought would be my death, but
instead of dying, i turned into a chimera-like enigma.
my arms became fins, my skin - scales, my legs - a tail,
and the current pushed me back to a trail of stars
where i swam the river out into an ocean
and realized my strings had been cut away.

it was then when we haphazardly crossed paths,
you, a fisherman and me, a girl out in the open sea.
watching you cast a net and reel me into your boat,
i cried, confident that you would nurse me back to health.
you asked me what my name was but every time
i parted my lips, i couldn't make out a sound.

you shrugged, but depleted all your survival kits
to keep me alive on your nightly fishing trips.
slowly but surely, your care coerced me into loving you;
i was shocked that you had not used any strings,
but my past caused me to doubt you as spurious
and i was left to admire you from only a distance.

yet in my dreams, i'd reach out to touch your face,
only to clutch nothing but a handful of air and awake.
i'd be heartsick for your touch, a body so foreign to me.
if your presence alone sends my heart in seizures,
how can i expect to whisper words i have yet to mean,
"i love you," right to your face?

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