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Sherisse Alheli Pendleton

there was never anything until 

suddenly there was, and

it turns out it had all

been here all along

matter creates matter destroys

matter, but tell me,

what’s the matter, darling?

don't you know that i can see the moon 

in your eyes, all craters and imperfection

and life and strength and love?

did you know that i can see the beginnings

of myself all the way up until it ends with 

you, you, you, you with your

vulcan love of everything

they say that love is all sunny

days and green fields and sweet honey

but don’t they realize that honey

comes from bitter, harsh stings,

don’t they realize that the ocean is 

so much more than lazy, sweet tides?

if you have taken a coastal nap and

woken up to the soft, stern warning of 

saltwater licking at your ankles,

telling you that while life originated in those

saline waves, life is just as sure to fade there, 

then they would know

if you have ever had your mother yell at you

for staying out too late without texting back

all anxious anger and restless worry

if you have ever yelled back at your mother

only to immediately remember every single

hand-crafted piece of her heart 

that she ever gifted you

then you would know

the ocean gifted us with the same salinity

that we carry within our blood 

and yet she is still more than able and willing 

to gouge out stone

to round out glass

we leave marks on everything we love, you know,

whether we realize it or not - 

and the way the sun leaves little pyrite-gold flecks

on the deep lapis of our skin proves it

we break off flower heads press them between pages

to remember

we carve letters into trees and leave locks on bridges

to remember

we ruffle sleep-tousled hair and leave bruises and bites

to remember

that we are alive; 

that we have been there; 

that we will always exist;

we will return to the stars from which we came

and i, for one, look forward to spending the rest of never

with the likes of you.

poetry, 2020
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