red ocean By Megumi Oishi

red ocean

when he asks me
do you like the red ocean
and why, how
I can’t really answer

because if I say yes
the words will bloom smoke and
make me look like something
he can no longer recognize

because if I say no
I’ll have my tongue cut off
by Lord Enma-san
and only be able to speak blood

but when I look up
and it seeps through my teeth
dying my smile; my tongue
will only speak the truth

because even if I sink
and breathing becomes a chore
the waters will be warm
make sinking worthwhile

because soft whispers might
keep me buoyant, afloat
and when my face resurfaces
I’ll see the sun

because when I see her
cherry nail polish
I want to ask her
do you like the red ocean

By Megumi Oishi


Megumi Oishi is the Japanese-American author of award-winning works commended by Helicon Northwestern, the Japanese American Citizens League, American Fencing Magazine, and more. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, she is currently a first-year pre-law English major and Division 1 athlete at Northwestern University.

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