the ocean writes a letter to the moon By Jessie Lynn McMains

the ocean writes a letter to the moon

Dearest, most beautiful baby,
I am writing to tell you that I am
bloated with death and extinction

Everything I am is rotten, heavy
with decay or on the way to its
ending, and before it ends I will
swallow the rest whole, though
I don’t want to, though I am
already sick from being
full of this necrosis

I could tell you about the things that
have been done to me to make me
the way I am, but everyone does
that: points the finger, fingers
someone else, so I won’t

I wonder what you see when
you look at me, from where you are
I must look much the same as I
always have
Glimmering, shimmering, oozing
with embryos, seeds, lifeblood

But let me tell you, it is not like
that anymore
My belly is a nest of spiders
My heart is a tsunami the size
of my fist and my fist is an
atom bomb the size of the

The only thing I am oozing is
the milk of wreckage, and if
I appear glimmering, still,
I swear to you it is only an oil
slick and the decomposing
luminescence of Aequorea

Most beautiful baby, I can feel
you tugging me toward you
Dearest, I wish I could join you
You get farther away each year
and I have to stay here, alone
with my appetite for annihilation
which grows and grows though
I am already full to bursting

I envy you your distance more
than anything

They’ve always said I was a cruel
mistress and I get more ruthless
by the day but no matter what
happens I hope you can look
upon my body and see me as I
once was

Someone who loved everything
she held within her and took
only what she needed to

By Jessie Lynn McMains


Jessie Lynn McMains (aka Rust Belt Jessie) is a writer and zine-maker, and the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate of Racine, Wisconsin. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for fiction. Her words have recently appeared in The Chapess, New Pop Lit, Rising Phoenix Review, Voicemail Poems, and Paper & Ink. Forthcoming publications include: The Girl With the Most Cake (a self-published chapbook), What We Talk About When We Talk About Punk (a prose collection from Pioneers Press/Punch Drunk Press), and a poetry collaboration with Misha Brandon Speck.

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