There are so many ways to describe
the fact that we die and are reborn
countless times: the New Year’s resolution list,
the myth of a phoenix rising from ashes,
the box of hair dye and the scissors, the poets:
dying is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
But no one ever talks about the ghosts.
The dead ones that that turn your bones
into a creaky, old haunted mansion.
And no one talks about how frequently girls die
in a lifetime. Girl after girl after girl after girl.
Some of them are mischievous and hopeful,
frolicking in your ribcage like a child who thinks
everything will turn out all right.
Yet some of them are screaming.
And when you hear the way she cried out,
again, it keeps you up at night. You don’t know
how to escape her, banish her,
remove her like a threatening mass. But some of them
you encounter in the night like lost strangers.
That girl that walked the pier barefoot
in a fluorescent bikini with other girls,
that girl who hated herself so much
she had no understanding of the power
of her body. But the water’s rhythm, hungrily
tonguing the sand, spoke its subliminal language:
the eros that promised it would erupt in waves
within her body underneath a boy’s body. So that
when the boys came along, sunned and shirtless
in their glistening madness, and told the girls
to jump off the ledge, chanting, do it, just do it,
don’t think about it, and the idea of drowning
passed briefly overhead like the shadow of a seagull,
she leapt in. And the boys laughed, caught it all on film.
And you know she made it to the surface again,
gasping life more forcefully than ever,
and the water droplets on her body
were proof of her glittering courage,
toweled off a beat too slowly by the boys,
and you know it was fine—it was, yes, it was fine—
she survived, she giggled, she gave the boys her number,
so who then is this young girl that just coughed
salted sand onto your poem with seaweed in her hair?