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An Ocean

by Robin Gow

I’m burying my voice in a collapsing star because that’s how I want to talk right now. I open my mouth and I feel the roof caving in. I want an ocean for all this surface but the heat of my body rejects water. In the mirror I take one of my thousand fingers and trace all the places I would make bodies of water. A lake at the center of my chest, a pond on my forehead. An ocean on my back so that when lovers hug me from behind they fall in. I want to be fallen into and full of deep sea creates, those angler fish and giant squid. I want to be terrifying and blue. I fill a white coffee mug with water and pour it over my head. Damp hair. I’m alive remember, just collapsing. I don’t want this to be a metaphor. I’m real. A real collapsing star and I regret not having been a planet. There’s something much nobler out there. A rock growing green fur, praying atmosphere halo. I press my index finger against my core like a stove top but my fingers don’t burn. There’s no ocean here, there’s not and the deep is hiding fission and melting. and the deep knows no animals. Not a metaphor for collapsing, a collapsing. Take me seriously, I’m a star, your only star why so many if we only need one? The other stars buzz like gnats in my hair.

I tell them to listen to me. I open my mouth trying to fit an ocean. So much salt. I end up just pouring from the salt shaker. Salt melting from heat. Teeth jumping down throat like divers. If you want an ocean you can’t just draw where it should have been.


Robin Gow is a trans poet and young adult author. They are the author of OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL DEGENERACY (Tolsun Books 2020) and the chapbook HONEYSUCKLE (Finishing Line Press 2019). Their first young adult novel, A MILLION QUIET REVOLUTIONS is slated for publication winter 2022 with FSG. Gow's poetry has recently been published in POETRY, New Delta Review, and Washington Square Review.

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