When the Bough Breaks

I sit in the water
Eyes closed
Legs Swirling
I'm scared.
The current picks up and I am pulled under,
Mouth open from a yelp in pain
The water is faded
Laced with shells and sand and sea plants
The water is taking hold of my body
Taking control.
I remember the first time I saw a man
Hilton Head Beach, 2016
White Board Shorts
I couldn't bring myself to what it was
But I saw him, the way I saw the ocean
Beautiful, Majestic, Neverending
His skin: A cocoa dream
His smile: heavenly like the clouds
As I soon got into the water,
I would close my eyes, go deep, and think
Think of his body, his face, his smile
I have seen many men - at school
Like the ocean
Blissful, Shiny, Eternal
Some plagued with Ick
Others dusted with rainbow fish and dolphin wonders
Chance: His name, what I took
Was a river
Close to an ocean
Yet less delicate and smooth
With a river or lake, you know what you are getting
Suckers, Bottom Feeders, Heartache
Trees of wonder sprouting
His love for me was like a canoe
Sturdy? No. Fast? No. Moveable? Yes.
A canoe lacking paddles or a rower
Jake was like a swimming pool
Artificial, Expendable
Glamorized for human consumption
Only goes so deep, so far
Only open for so long
And his love, a punctured pool floaty
Pretty but continuously running out of oxygen
No longevity, no warmth
The water picks up and I am pulled not up but out
Deeper into the abyss
My eyes are open yet everything is dark
Fish swimming, light vanishing
Resembling my imagination
Some days illustrious lights and beautiful guys
Other days darkness and rejection
The ocean echoes "Luke", "Gavin, "Grief"
Those names imagination, not reality
Gavin - an anglerfish
Luke - a stingray
My body is breathless
Pulling "What if's" from my lips
That and oxygen
Pure, Unadulterated, much-needed oxygen
My body being pulled by the water,
suffocating to the touch,
is placed on a boat.
Next to me...a woman
Blonde, youthful, fair
She is beautiful or was
She is dead
Her name is Lust
As it is engraved, blood seeping through her chest
Her skin is wrinkled
Aging into nothingness
I told myself I wouldn't cry the first time I let go of control
I was wrong.
I let each man, one by one, take control of me
Either mentally or physically
Some in daydreams, others in reality
She's balding
She's been used
A lot.
Her makeup still intact but smudged
I try to reach out and touch her
But her skin begins to crumble
Crumble into blackness
As there's only an eyelash of light I begin not to see her
She is gone.
I can't move, I can't breathe, I can't feel
The ocean spins from black to blue to blur
Showing an image, a memory
A message.
"You're not good enough"
Splayed across my stretch marks
The mirror growing around my eyes
"Cut away the pain"
As bloody lines grow from my smile
"Don't eat"
As my throat begins to close up
I am tantalized in the mirror
I believe in this hex.
The image floats away
and another shows up.
Innocence, virginity, sex, hope - or lack thereof
I try and close my eyes
But the pictures continue
Others are able to find happiness, stability, in the water
I find hatred.
I find pain. true, neverending pain.
I cry and scream but no one can hear me
Why can't they hear me?
The pictures swell - no musical, no man, no confidence, no happiness
No future, no past, no present
No blackness, no fatness, no queerness
As the tears pulse, I begin to gag
On the saltiness of my wounds
The bitterness of my history
I spread my arms and legs
Try and crawl out of the boat
My legs begin to extend light, gleaming through the water
My arms laced with glitter and rainbow feathers
My eyes made of sunlight
My heart a soldier able to fight off evil
The water begins to move me
Up to the surface
Back to the sand with my family
My skin glistens or so I think.
I look up and there is no sunlight.
Or family
Or beauty.
Just ruin.
When the bough breaks,
We must pick an image.
The story of self-confidence, joy, and praise
Or the story of appeasement, humility, and inner pain.

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