a photograph of an ocean wave in bright shades of blue, with the day sky showing on the upper right hand corner.

by Issy Golding

Barreling forwards forever
Never linear — tides don’t allow for that when there's nowhere to go
It’s been dark the whole time. Alone
Bobbing in the open sea.
The sea parts, like a comb through hair. 
Is this the end?
I can smell the salty breath of the ocean
Taste the memories of the sea as it rains through the wood. 
Floating through the wash of the waves. 

I can feel my legs cramp up. Curled into me. 
Longing for space again
Arms crossed, a casket in the waves. 
No room, no comfort. 
A run into the sand, a seat at the table
Legs are tense
The stress of the tides held within them. 
I want to wash onto shore
A swansong, dancing on salty sand.
Assured that the home I left I could return to 
I didn’t know how long I’d be in this casket when I started. 
I didn’t know how far I’d go before there would be land below my feet. 
I didn’t know that I’d be floating until the end of the earth. 

The world spins around me
Or I spin around it
Cramped, alone. Knees to my chest
Confined to a space I didn’t choose. 
in a world who has forgotten me 
Or have I forgotten it? 
I left the stove on; the ocean can not help me as my home burns. 
I need to go turn it off. 
Wet, the ocean never dries, and neither do I 
The waves, the wash develops me in a hollow cocoon, 
Chrysalis, smells of rotting wood, through the gaps of the casket
Soft, small, shatters. 
Air is limited, stagnant. Barely enough to breathe. 

The waves have pushed me so far I can no longer act. 
All that’s left is a whimper and the smell of smoke through the salt 
Quietly smashing, against and within
A shock, a wave, the blast on my side
I can’t hear my voice
The bang of the waves against the wood
Is this the bang they spoke about?
At dawn, a valley or more of the same?
Cool from the moon shifts to a warmer light
The slats in the wood, a clock 
Still in the ocean, perhaps up a stream?
Senseless loop of crashing waves
I hear it coming, another smashing 
Up the wall - my mind, the image, tall
Bombora, edge of the cliff
Washed up, yet not on the shore.