Salt Water Sacrifices
With each rising crest breaking over my head,
I considered giving myself to the ocean,
considered letting the water swallow me up,
considered filling my lungs with seaweed and
sand instead of these mismatched sentiments
of grief and anger; a sacrifice Poseidon himself
would have been proud of. Because
what is suicide if not a conversation
with forgiveness? Maybe those who stare
into the abyss and are not afraid are just
begging for relief, begging for a power bigger
than themselves to consume them, begging
for the depths of the sea to swallow them.
But each time I found myself contemplating
turning my life over to the water,
I felt my pulse rip through my body as I wondered
if I would make it back up for air,
or if the current would drag me along with it.
With each almost-sacrifice,
I found myself wandering back to what
I’ve always known, asking myself if this
is all I will ever be.
By Ailey O’Toole
Ailey O’Toole is a queer poet and bartender who writes about feminism, empathy, and pain. She hopes everyone who reads her poems feels less alone in their struggle. Her work has previously appeared in or is forthcoming from After the Pause, Rising Phoenix Review, Ghost City Review, Bone and Ink Press, Okay Donkey, and others. She tweets at @ms_ocoole.