Genres: Horror, Hurt/Comfort, Poetry+Prose, Spiritual, Tragedy

Tags: Major Character Death, General fears related to being lost at sea, Kenophobia (fear of empty spaces), Thalassophobia (fear of deep bodies of water), Sea monster (teeth, tentacles, glowing), Shipwreck, Loss of family member (father), Thirst, Hunger, Hypothermia, Exposure, Sunburns, Drowning, Swallowed whole and alive, Brief mention of real splinters and metaphorical needles and razor blades, Hallucinations, Disassociation, Rebirth, Transformation, Suicidal Ideation, Telepathy, 2nd person POV

To see the version formatted like a high school English class handout, go here: deviantart spacedimentio/art/You-ve-always-loved-the-Ocean-story-poem-868164050


i.

You've always loved the Ocean
ever since you were small
and It splashed onto your toes.
When a broken shell cut your foot
you didn't cry; you wiped away the blood
and ran your fingers over the patterns,
considering how they would fit together
in a necklace you mother showed you
how to make.
You peered into tide pools,
you played in the surf and,
even when It dragged you far away,
almost stole you and taught you to respect It,
you set aside your fear and made friends with It again.

You listened to the sounds of the waves,
the calls of the seabirds,
the clicking of dolphin pods playing alongside of you
the clacking of crabs combing the beach for food
and all the music of the sea.
Many days, after your chores were done,
you'd sit on the sand and
watch the sunset paint the sky,
playing nonsense and sea shanties on
an ocarina carved from whalebone.

You learned how to walk on a bobbing boat,
how to tie knots, how to fish,
about currents, about diving for clams,
about the colorful reefs and hiding eels,
the curious octopus and the hunting shark.
You loved everything about the Ocean,
all the frightening and wonderful things.

Your father didn't return one day.
Your mother sobbed by the fire
and you stood on the shore,
feeling the water wash around your ankles,
pulling, grasping, as if It could take you too.
Even then you could not hate It,
only hoped It would take good care of him,
that he and his shipmates could find peace in the waves,
their bones scattered, laid to rest in the depths
and their bodies feeding a multitude,
as is the Ocean's way.

You walk up the gangplank as you have a hundred times before,
as your father and grandfather and forefathers did before you,
the wood creaking solidly beneath your feet
and the sails flapping eagerly in the wind.
High in the crow's nest the Ocean stretches forever,
clouds drifting above in the endless blue dome.
If you look too long, you'll go mad, they say,
but you look anyway and feel the rocking waves
deep down in your core.

The stars twinkle around the Moon,
Her light unable to illuminate
the mysteries beneath the water.
In the middle of the night,
a horrible noise tears you from your rest,
drives a terrible chill up your spine,
sends water crashing in to strangle you.
You cling to a broken plank and shout and scream and cry but
they leave you behind,
some safe on the ship's boats,
most lost to blackness and slumber.
The ship tears itself to pieces and sinks.
It's not long before you can't hear them anymore,
alone and lost and forgotten.

You're angry
and scared,
mourning.
The Ocean took your father,
takes your friends and your home.
It waits.

You have nothing to do but hope.