Weekly Write: “I have seen the ocean once” by Liza Wolff-Francis

I have seen the ocean once

its monstrous size hummed
over earth, its tides pulled
my body like wind pulls
at the wings of gulls.

Its water melted into sand
and I sank into it, becoming
for an instant, one
with ocean and land.

I saw to the end of our planet
like it was the future, sun
glistening on the blood
of earth, waves on and on.

My mother said we must
take inspiration from ocean,
as a force as ongoing as time
and none who try to conquer it

will be able. I loved the cool
melt between my toes, the rinse
and cleanse on my hands,
my face with its grit,

salt on my tongue, like it
would eat me. Part of me
wanted to let it, but that is not
why we could not stay there.

My mother brought me there
to understand how my body
also holds an ocean, one they
also want to conquer.

Closer to the ocean,
there is more danger, she said,
because conquerors come
and ocean and earth can only

fight them off sometimes.
On days when it rains here,
I remember how each drop
of water acts on its own,

how water stays together
as a force. I feel ocean move
inside me and how I bleed
and dance with the moon.

To protect ocean
is to protect my body.
Crabs scurry away from it, hide
from it, run to it, to become it.

Gulls dive, hunger calls them
like the moon calls my tides,
all of us salt and sand
and ocean blood running alone

before the earth’s edges
as if ocean were the part of us
we had felt inside us
but only met once.

Liza Wolff-Francis is a literary artist with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and on the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has a poetry chapbook called Language of Crossing (SWEPublications).



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