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The Leave-Taking by Katy Zweifel

If I must go,
I’m taking the ocean with me—
every wave that ends its life on the
shore, crushed in a fatal leap
against the sand;

And the treasures
they leave at my feet—I’m taking
those too—all that’s left of broken
beauty and forgotten lives
of the sea.
I’m taking
the ocean with me:
the cold Pacific waters that gather the dying flames
of the sun, and thrust fiery sparks into twilight
like late-summer bonfires.
I am taking
it with me: the sweeping,
silver expanse of the wide-open sea,
an iridescent pool of liquefied
I am taking
the ocean with me:
the salt-drenched air and the flooded tide pools, drowning
deep-sea secrets like my summer

I am taking
it with me: the old pier
that stretches its arm towards the razor-edged horizon
as it tiptoes past sleeping sailboats,
and invites me to follow
the millions
of stars pooling like pearl-colored
blood forming a path to the moon that hangs low
in the sky as the fog struggles
to push it higher.

And I can’t tell if I’m coming
or going, but I am taking the ocean
with me, and all its casualties clinging to
the empty oyster shell
on this piece of floss
wrapped around
my neck.

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