she wakes with a metal tongue & all day it sticks, rust-smacking she struggles to stop the rot that's all chemically composed, hard-wired in science & skin. at this point there's no point for a hug or mouth that mouths i understand, she understands each day she must swallow desert, let it cake through her veins, cut out starfish flesh & worship the sun.
still, in dark, blankets are waves & each night she'll sink or swim,
no matter she's a fish & come morning, in sand, flapping fins as the wind triggers fits to bust both brain & lungs. a sea-thing born with feet, the girl can't grow like they grow, listen to her words: she gurgles, then gasps. & each prayer, a prayer for water,
not to choke, not to choke