all the best moments of my life
have happened underwater,
and you are afraid to swim.
Did you know that the last fatal
shark attack in New Jersey was in 1926,
when your mother’s mother
was a glint in her mother’s eye?
You do not need to be so afraid.
The ocean is my strongest mother.
When I was ten, I lost one gold earring
to a foamy open-mouthed wave.
Half of my grandpa’s last gift.
My favorite aunt told me that she thought
a big, beautiful rainbow fish was probably
wearing it like a lip ring. Sometimes,
I still wear my half.
Sometimes, I park outside his house,
look at the stranger’s car in his driveway,
and I can smell the oatmeal cookies
and salty hair.
“Have you ever loved something so much
that you would give it the prettiest piece of you?”
You did not understand the question.