Cafe, Sunshine, Sea

you are nothing,
you are everything.

the sea

Once, I buried my toes in the sand
and offered my name to the sea-
the waves lapping at my ankles
and the stars reflecting
like eyes off the water,

like looking up to see someone
leaning in the doorway and watching
when you'd thought the room empty.
I held my skin stretched between my fingers,
my knuckles twitching, trigger-fingered.

The waves wouldn't take it.

I tried to weigh my pockets with silt and shells
to wade in, but my hands
floated like foam, and I couldn't
sink, couldn't touch my toes
to the sand and seaweed, suspended instead
on a wire in the water, wading in the shallows.

the sun

I sat across from the sea
at a cafe made of foam and sunlight,
and I asked her,

"Why am I here?"

She leaned across the table,
eroded ripples across the wood,
and she said

"you were born screaming,
and you will dig your toes into the soil until
the soil digs into you, and all the small ones of the world
take you into themselves. In-between is life.

you are the warmth
spread over boughs and brooks, the eyeshine
of field mice, the dipping of leaves
against the wind;

you are the thunderhead and the lightning
and the heat of the land
as the sky reaches down and tears a tree
from its roots; every cell in every
body that swims, leaps, crawls, claws its way
towards the sun;

you do not belong
in the shadows with the little shapes
scratching at death and drinking ever deeper
of what light reaches them.

have you forgotten how
your fathers peeled themselves from my waves
and turned flippers to fingers, traded gills
for lungs and eyes
to better see the sky with? You are my child
and I love you, but you are not mine-

you are what you will be, not
where you once were."

her fingers
trailed over my cheek
and left lines in their wake
like toddlers' fingers in sand.

you are the sunshine and the sea.