Dust in the Ocean
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Politics and Activism

Dust in the Ocean

Dust in the Ocean

a poem i wrote about processing death in families, particularly as a queer person from a christian family. this poem addresses the tensions, regrets, abandonment, resentment, and also the love i've felt for my own given family, and for the families of my dearest friends.


i throw you in the river

body in a wet bag

body in a wet rug

body in a cold can—

in an old suit

body in an upturned hat

body in an open palm

body of christ in a square

of stale bread

i throw flowers on the ground

they call it a grave

i call it grass

i call it child’s play

i call it two hands

digging in the mud

i call it hidden treasures

opossum bones and black rocks

hypodermic needles

pull tabs

i call it pushing daisies

i call it turning up the tulips

i call it tearing up the yard

i call it burning the house down

what do i want?

i want the world to stop

i want to unsmoke cigarettes

i want your boot between my front teeth

i want to roll up the carpets

i want to paint the walls

i want to change the way we look at ourselves

i want to change the way you see the world

i want to change you

i want to put my cheek against every mirror

i want to kiss the ghost of my face

the shape of it, the fog, a fragment of before

a piece of ten minutes ago

a piece of ten years ago

a piece of my mother in her Sunday best

a piece of my father with his fists unfurled

a piece of cake

i want to hold your hand across the aisle

i want to kiss you in church

i want to hold you so close that you can feel

my heartbeat through my neck

the rabbit fast drum of my shame

against the slow thud of your rejection

my fear so thick you could

butter bread with it

i want you to love me without conditions

i want you to believe in a different god

a benevolent god who thinks that

the women i love are strong

that their hair is made of silk

that their hearts are made of bees

i want him to look at the women i love

and see flowers blooming out

from between their ribs

the ones he laid so close together

the ones he made of an after thought

the ones he bound together so tight

that they could hardly breathe

unless they were alone

or alone together

i want you to lock the back door

i want to eat at a different restaurant

i want the sky to be the end of the universe

i want the ocean to be the infinity beyond

i want to look at clouds and see clouds

no more monsters, no more white faces

no more names on the horizon

no more saints or holy palmers kisses

i want my mother’s hands to feel like goodnight

i want my lovers hands to feel like good morning

anything other than good riddance

i want to lay on the ground

and feel you on the other side

i want to jump in after

i want to sink to the bottom

with whats left of you—

a body in a cold can

a body in a wet rug

a body in a wet bag

dust in the ocean

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