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Tide Over


Rho Bloom-Wang

On the train I try to break the distance.

On the bus, my hellos too small and my smiles
double-masked. Oh, Ocean, take me back.

It’s lonely on land: every fire famished,
every ash a hazard. Oh, Ocean, the day you fell

ill we shimmered. Capillaries more acid
than water, carbon full-swell in your throat,

your children too dead to tide us over.
How did it feel when their arms turned

pink to green to stone? To feel their bones
sink into your flesh? Your life scraped out

from the bottom up: "she’s growing stormy
heartless," we say of you. We give up

on the timeline for plastic decay,
make everything hurt into "she."

Oh, Ocean, do you know this race
we’re running? For that fossil elixir

that won’t really save us. Can you drown us
out of sprinting? Roll, roll

the contents of your stomach winding up,
fury breaks past the beach. I watch

the buildings cascade, the cogwheels slow,
only tops of heads left afloat

as witness.

This poem was selected as an honorable mention in our 2023 Seasick Competition. Go here to see the other winners:

Rho Bloom-Wang serves as the Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County. They have been recognized by the Oakland Sidewalk Poetry Contest, YoungArts, and DePaul’s Bluebook, and their work is located in Lumiere Review and Qommunity’s Revive. Rho loves to read, hike, and daydream about the ocean from their landlocked city.

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