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I am the breath of deep sea life

by Raven Buck

I crushed the stars in my iron callused palms and collected their velvet dust in a fire-proof vial, for later reuse.

Sometimes, I walk along the beach and see all these dead oyster shells, crumbling beneath my black canvas shoes. The muddy ocean at low tide paints my canvas shoes sepia brown, reminding me of a childhood where I was 3 times closer to the ground and in awe of the dirt- light enough to skip across the ocean without sinking like a silver dime.

A statue named Kairos used to watch faded kelp twist up the shore from the deepest parts of the sea to clutch at my rusted ankles. They would only drag me in so far, but I always wondered who else they were searching for- and why they left me alone after three feet of anxious blue.

Now he is the one who is rusted, and I am a lost little girl who constantly vanishes inside crystal hard hallways. My shriveled little lungs inhale stardust for weeks from a test tube so I can have some chance to scrape the parasites from my throat and pretend something is real-

but nothing is real, besides this burn on my lips.
The lighter fluid always runs out and everyone is paranoid.

Everyone has tendrils of grey-scale smoke obfuscating their vertebrae and taking control of their milk winter eyes.
They are lackluster, and deceiving-
and I don't know what to write anymore.

I just wish Kairos would paint my world in solar-powder again, so I can stop painting my eyelashes in daisy pollen pretend, and have some relief.

I find his statue one last time. Slipping off my rustic canvas shoes, I step out to where the sea greets the sun. I walk on water for a moment, but it isn't long before those deep beds of kelp are holding my ankles again. 

I don't struggle for help. just slip six feet below the surface and stare at the sky. From down here, it's not red or pink, but exploding with indigo and framed by aqua bearing blossoms.

My heart pounds twice and I let go of air, cleansing the parasites from my throat with one single, burning breath. The crystals flee from my lungs, and dissolve into my veins... 

and I realize my scattered bones will be rusted no longer, but rustic and covered in barnacles like the catastrophic shipwrecks that became the breath of deep sea life.