Fake-superstitious florists silhouetted against waves
impress enough to sell their wilting flowers, which remind
you of being a half-asleep child, carried home

The dead always say the truth, like the therapy that is
applying glitter eye shadow in the day-night
it goes well with pretending everything isn’t there to be erased

Sometimes you take out the ocean in you, give it space to breathe
imagine you live on an island, instead of tropical paradise and
black death blending inside like twin flames

With peeling membranes of society unravels the need to count
wounded islands and their quantified fate bounces like free
radicals, tonguing each other in a carnival orgy

At the night market, you wait for earth movements to become
splitting images of manic belly dancers, but there is only a cloud-shaped
picture of choking fish and octopus legs

Your ocean is camouflaged behind layers of shore beds
squeezed against uncomfortable rocks and not even ancient stones
can make those waves look youthful

Upturned waters swallow the flowers, pacing back and forth
you want to stay out their way but you remember your own stomach bugs
so you curl on the beach, lips dry and trembling like mouths of stranded fish

Darkness rips to look at your feet, wet and sticky
there is more of you among uneven grains of sand than
between your skin

Ana Prundaru is a Romanian-born translator, writer and visual artist. Her work appears in DIAGRAM, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Watershed Review and elsewhere. She lives in Zurich, Switzerland.

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