the tide rises, the tide falls | an oceanic literary magazine
Things Lost at Sea
i. Sand Castles
The sailboats are black
triangles stencilled on orange
construction paper sunsets.
You are hidden beneath
the horizon, sediment between
the bones of drowned whales.
I am on the shore
with the other children,
who are with their fathers,
building sand castles.
But because you are not here,
my castle is shoddily made,
fragile towers already collapsing.
My mother offers me
a consolation of baroque shells,
but crumbling walls have no use
I scatter them over the waves
with the sudden ferocity of
shaking a bedsheet,
sending the ships, bits of grime,
Afterward, who would suspect,
underneath the freshly pressed surface,
I scour this parchment of beach
for a message from you, ciphered
in the cryptic scrawling of driftwood and
ink-stains of kelp, punctuated by pebbles,
smudged unreadable by the tides.
The wind polishes the bones of forgotten
shipwrecks, echoing bedtime stories
you once told me of a castaway naked
on an uncharted island, stalked by cannibals, or
a pirate captain with a peg leg and a parrot,
plotting mutiny, overheard in an apple barrel, or
perhaps, clinging to a fig tree,
a father searching for a way back home.
I give you a silver beard, maybe a glass
eye for authenticity, vellum
skin riddled with scars like X’s
on a treasure map, and a voice
parched as memory, whispering,
things lost at sea wash ashore eventually.
Mihan Han is an unabashed nerd/gamer and an abashed amateur writer/musician living in Toronto, Ontario. He has poetry published or forthcoming in Modern Haiku, Ars Medica, Ricepaper Magazine, Juniper, MONO., and Failed Haiku. He can be found on Twitter (@MrMihanHan) and Instagram (@mihanpoetry).