Pelagic

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At the tiding of the seasons I replace my nails
with bone-tipped claws, slip membrane
beneath my lids, fasten my teeth to iron shards
that tear my gums, bleed them out
into the saline night. I beg my mother
to show me my heritage
& when she turns away I steal down,
away to open ocean
where the sky is mutable & the sea runs slow
on ancient currents. Immensity is a luxury
won only by the atavistic—the ones who burn their bridges,
choose vestige over progress—so tell me the sea
will run dry in finite years, prove to me the history
of my body can finally be drowned.
Otherwise, I strike for horizon. I sew my legs shut
& patch them with scale, append them with fin,
mistake myself for devil in the moon-limned bay, & wait
for the edge of the world to never be found.
PELAGIC by Johanna Dong

Photo used under CC.



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About Author

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Johanna Dong is currently studying economics at NYU, though she was born and raised in Southern California. Her fiction and poetry has appeared in The Rumpus, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Margins, TRACK//FOUR Journal, Jellyfish Review, Southeast Review, and Tinderbox Poetry. Find her online @johanna_ktd.

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