You are counting the waves



but numbers don’t induce order. To count


what is without number on fingers meant to writhe

what they touch—hold your breath


and ask this one thing of the world: to keep

the pain fully inside yourself, to let it swell within.


When you let go, chart the sting


red,        and stringy as a constellation: fever

on the chest of heaven. Look: you’re a map-reader now.


See if you can tell where your body’s going.

Wherever it is, the water will make room for you,


you who are less permanent than the drowned statues

of algae-tinted cities. You will take the ocean in


and give it back


and from your substance will thrive

so many brilliant-colored lionfish.

C.T. Salazar is a Hispanic poet living in Mississippi. He’s the editor-in-chief of Dirty Paws Poetry Review, and the 2017 AWP Intro Journals poetry winner. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Tampa Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Matador Review, The Harpoon Review, Bad Pony, Cotton Xenomorph, Ink & Nebula, FLARE: the Flagler Review, and elsewhere. He’s an MFA candidate and a children’s librarian.