I walk to Boston on humpbacks

Across a heavy sea;

My hair trapped in a red cap

While stilled nomads roll

Beneath my runners.

 

I grate against grey wind,

Blazing flakes scalding my cheeks.

My breath is thick and salted –

The presence of exhalation.

The Ocean is heavier

Than I thought it would be.

 

Sand remains entombed in my socks.

Seaweed laces between my shins.

I try to pad across carefully,

Step tiptoed along their spines –

Softer than the nets

That gash at the humpbacks

Until their bodies weep.

It’s far too late

To see humpbacks swim carefree.

 

I grew up knowing others

Had no humpbacks at their feet.

Beneath them were sand bars at low tide.

Inconstant islands formed

In the mourns of the day,

Stretching into restless skies.

 

A dinghy’s wake follows my path,

But cuts off once they see the storm shattering.

There’s been too much time for rain;

Too much time for sticky throats,

Choking like Atlas’s knees.

The Ocean is heavier

Than I thought it would be.

 

I dock in Boston’s shoreline.

No lift in my sails made of skin

Or masts made of bones,

Yet wind still burns my throat.

The Ocean is heavier

Than I thought it would be.

 

My runners wander back to sand.

Humpbacks extinct themselves the same way –

Beached.

 

Buckets are filled.

Floods erupt over the humpbacks.

My fingers turn wrinkled with wet

As my runners soak beneath me.

The humpbacks lie still.

 

A seabed drowns

Sounds of crushing waves,

But my breaths are still

Filled with water.

I gasp for air

While the humpbacks gasp

For the lull of the sea.

 

The Ocean is heavier

Than I thought it would be.

 

I untie the seaweed from my shins,

Letting my runners drift into the surf –

A verdict that I am not made of glass bottles

Washed ashore from the sea.

I grew up knowing others

Had no humpbacks at their feet.

Still the Ocean is heavier

Than I thought it would be.

 

Leah Giles is a twenty-one year old Illustration major in her third year at the School of Visual Arts. She was born in Toronto, Canada, where she ate too much poutine and read too much Shel Silverstein.