Seaweed for hair

Connor came down to the sea,
a rocky outcrop on the East Coast
of Korea; bleached and brown
stone the tide fizzled out on
in white, time and time again.

He picked a spot as far away
from the tourists and locals
as he could: the valley of two
tiny peaks, dropping down
ahead of him to meet
with the waves.

Connor had not heard the sea
in over a year – the sizzle
of cola foam ripples, monsters
bellowing from the deep, a gull
overhead, its caws only relaxing
when you’re sat by the sea.

He watched the current
contort mountains and gullies
on the blue surface, like
watching a million years of
tectonic shifts in a second,
or aliens terraforming a
landless planet.

The smell, Connor missed too.
Of salt and harbour restaurant
fish, stagnant rock pools and
intercontinental fragrances
carried on the breeze, which
licked his bare arms but
produced no goosebumps.

Fifty feet out he watched
the sea swallow and spit out
over and over and
over and over an
island made for none, ugly
with algae and contrasting
the turquoise of
breaking waves.

Connor came down to the sea
to die. He wanted to feel
the way it made him feel
one last time. He wanted
to join his body with the ocean –
have it carry him far enough out
he’d find the quiet he was seeking.

Like trees in a forest
the sea is silent until it falls
against the land.

He wanted the sun on his skin
the breeze on his face
the water in his lungs.

When the tide rolled in that night,
a fisherman found
the body of a boy
with seaweed for hair, still
looking out to sea – his eyes
made of shells all
pearlescent and blue.

And when the fisherman
tried to cradle him,
the boy’s skin turned to water
and bled back into the ocean.

‘Carry him home’
spoke the fisherman
so too with
salt in his beard,
sand in his bones.

for M, x

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