Becoming Shoal

— Chet’la Sebree

These fragments I have shored against my ruins
— T. S. Eliot

Every man I’ve ever loved
has false teeth and abandoned children.

              I wanted you
              to see me differently,

which isn’t fair—
my insides are rotted

              and I’m proud
              I don’t breed

gnats just because
water’s stagnant.

              You found all the Easter eggs
              I didn’t know were broken.

After all those years,
in that boiled state,

              they know as much about being eggs
              as we know about being evangelical,

so I don’t know why
I sent you to save them.

              Every man I’ve ever loved
              was a liar.

I knew they were lying
to themselves

              before they knew
              they were,

before they were willing to admit
they were a wasteland

              in which one can neither
              stand nor lie nor sit.

Every man I’ve ever loved
is a lost son, so don’t worry

              you aren’t missing

My world has stopped
turning. Will you return it?

              Me—a dollhouse
              built from a kit,

in a dead woman’s closet.

              It’s okay;
              it’s just your fault

I am exploded granule
trying to regenerate

              into something meaningful:
              shoal to sandbar to island.

Read more from Issue No. 12 or share on Twitter.