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You think you know me—
       on shore, observing, armed
              with cameras, devices to size me up.

What you feel, the currents in your reach,
       make up just eight percent of me.
              At depth, I am cold—so cold in fact,
                     I change the water’s density, 
                            make its swirl entirely new.

You post signs, warn your little ones of undertow,
       but you confuse my playful rip currents
              for the constant pull of my lifeblood—
                     always calling, even when I seem benign.

It is impossible, you see,
       to push and push forever
              to shoal and breach for your amusement
                     carry you always toward sandy strand
                            on an infinity of crests.

What you know in your darkest dreams
       is that I must pull back what is mine
              drag everything with me, pull and pull
                     until I reclaim everything
                            you owe me.


Patricia Davis-Muffett (she/her) holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota and was a 2020 Julia Darling Poetry Prize finalist, won an honorable mention in the 2021 Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award, and won first honorable mention in the 2021 Outermost poetry contest, judged by Marge Piercy. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, Quartet Journal, Comstock Review and Gyroscope, among others. She lives in Rockville, Maryland, and makes her living in technology marketing.

© 2021, Patricia Davis-Muffett

One comment on “The Ocean Explains Herself, by Patricia Davis-Muffett

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