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We were standing on blocks of
concrete as the
kids threw disks of
shale into the lake,
listening to the slop of
rockwater, the wind,
and I was thinking about water,
about what we come from,
the tides swimming in our hearts.
If it’s true we came from water,
came crawling to the shore of
some black space-beach, then no
wonder we are knit of longing.
Each constrained in a tide pool
body, cruelly individual. That this is my longing,
my loneliness. The source
of pride and shame and every reptilian impulse.
I want to belong.
This is what they mean when they tell us about a fall.
How one day, once, and maybe one day again,
we can be a single, unified thing,
instead of seven billion shards.
One, water, ocean. 

Tyler James Russell is a writer and educator from Central Pennsylvania where he lives with his wife Cat and their children. His first poetry chapbook, To Drown a Man, is due August 4th from Unsolicited Press. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of British Columbia, his other work has appeared in Apiary and Riddle Fence, among others, and was a nominee for the 2011 Rhysling Award. You can find him at

© 2020, Tyler James Russell

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