The ocean is loud so we keep conversation
short and concentrate on the depth
of our breath. For once death is far
from my mind out here, on the beach.
Scattered along the wet sand are tiny,
bioluminescent plankton, a different, brighter glow
than the ubiquitous jellyfish. The ocean and sand
are a broken zipper. If I measure each day:
it becomes more valuable, accounted for, complete.
My companions are glowing with their own
luminous hearts. At once, I see them
as the tender wounds every human life is.
A plea to the world to be satisfied
when the only satisfaction
can be death. Look,
I lied, it was on my mind
all this time.

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Emily Alta Hockaday is author of Ophelia: A Botanist’s Guide, What We Love & Will Not Give Up, and Starting a Life. Her work has appeared in the North American Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Amazon’s Day One, Newtown Literary, Amethyst Arsenic, and a variety of other publications. She can be found on the web at www.emilyhockaday.com and @E_Hockaday.