The Ocean Makes Creatures of Us

Yvanna Vien Tica

I am watching the ocean drown
us in a fit of love. The sand sticks

to the alcove of my knees. There is a mother
dipping her child into the water, laughing.

The child is slipping in the sand,
webbed toes shimmering on a long

silver fin. The mother is crying
from laughing too hard and looks

at her feet. Then she is crying from watching her child swim
away. I am building a castle in the sand only for the ocean

to wash it away apologetically. There
is a weight stringing across my chest,

and I panic until I realize
it’s just the ocean, rising.

My phone sizzles in my pocket
and I hear a politician crying

out for Noah. But why
would he want animals

like us? No, I am ready
to go. I hold my breath

until my hair winds around my neck
like seaweed. The sun weaves silk

into the water, and the fish nuzzle me
instead of swimming away. I breathe.

When my feet fuse together, I swim
to the mother, laughing. Then we watch

her toes disappear too, replaced
with a long, silver fin. She is crying

from having breathed too much
air. The water embraces us.

I watch the mother swim away with her child.
The ocean kisses me in a fit of love.