I wanted to run away, so I rescued a boy who died at shore,
who drowned himself in rancid waters
on Thursday morning.

His hands were run-down calendars I never used.
They were ones I kept in the drawer for quite some time
because I didn't want to be able to tell how fast time was running
on a two-way street.

I was bad with directions, so I didn't know where time had run off to,
but it was also too late to start a goose chase. I didn't know many things the way
I didn't know why I sat on swings instead of benches, or why I drank juice instead of coffee,
or why I didn't know how to love you.

But we always knew one thing best. For me, it was easier.
I knew why my eyes had outgrown my hair. I had scissors meant to cut,
and I knew how to cut my hair. I just didn't know how to snip
ages after ages off my eyes.

They are parts of me that will be the last to go when I have expired,
but I didn't think they'd ever want to go. They would have lasted for a time
longer than mine.

I would have ran out of breath,
but breaths weren't the only thing I needed.

So I steadied the boy to hold still and put my palms to his chest.
I never liked taking lessons from medics. Instead, I took them from films I fall asleep to.
It was a honest bad mistake I made, I used to accuse the sea
of being a bad listener.

He was silent.
I heard my fingers work their way in.

Press. Compress. Uncompress.
We liked to talk in big words to feel big, but it was more so like this:
I push. I let go, then I push further into him, and he breathes.

He coughed the arson out of his lungs and felt the
bitterness run from his thighs and shins. I took his hand
because I wanted to be missing from myself and closed my eyelids to the way
his heartbeat jogged.

I tossed my pulse into the map lines of his hands that I imagined,
and I imagined him to be the sea.

Now the sea was he, now he was liquid, now he was blue.
I remember now the tides that he was.

I used to think how odd it must be to talk without a mouth or to cringe without teeth.
Now I think it must have been how I used to talk to the sea. And this must be how I talked:
with words, but no mouth, inside a mouth that has been closed shut.

(I have been closed shut.)

I knew I couldn't get him to hear me,
but he was the sea.

Seas were never made to listen.