I was seven when the sea turned
on me, tossed me sideways, stole
my footing, sloshed me to shore
like a weed. I stood in saltwater,
sandy hair stuck to my shoulders,
stunned. When I saw your pearly
spine in the ocean of my body,
it was like that: a grief
unleashed. I said your name,
and the waves overtook me.
What could I do but surrender
to their swell? I shed years
of longing like an old skin,
stood reborn, then waded in.
Emily Patterson is an editor, poet, and mother in Columbus, Ohio. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Mothers Always Write; Thimble Literary Magazine; Better Than Starbucks; Why Mums Are Amazing, edited by Hollie McNish; catheXis Northwest Press; Apeiron Review; and elsewhere.