A broken sea shell.

a man, he touched me once, and my skin turned
deep blue. my hair shone like light and stood on end.
I don’t think that was ever love.

it flew above my head like a crow and left me
small silvery pieces that I collected and refused
to let go of. I had a box of shells I scooped from the ocean

we made love in, but I realized they were all porous
and carved out. little deaths—pieces of coral chipping
away into nothing. eventually, I returned them to the sea,

or the ground, or perhaps I just threw them away.
I don’t remember. or care? well, maybe I care.

I am touched again and again—touched and
touched. by boy or blue or monster,
or memory. or the monster I’ve made

of memory. by the slim metal
of tweezers. everything I keep and search for
in the corners of my house. the dull

knock of boxes jostling against each other.
I open a book, and find a slim photo
of my once-slim self in its pages. a girl I used to be,

washed under the green light of a dark bar.
blinking at me from the past. like a message.
was I happy then? I can’t remember.

or I don’t care? maybe I care.
I carry her with me. I care.
I carry.

Photo by Laen, used and adapted under CC.