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.