FOR WATERLOGGED HEARTS

by Eloise Archer

.FOR WATERLOGGED HEARTS.

IT’S SUMMER AND WE’RE ON A BEACH

WATCHING THE WAVES CRASH AGAINST ROCKS

LIKE THEY’RE IN LOVE WITH THE SHORE.

THERE'S A BLOATED WHALE WASHED UP ON THE BRINK,

HALF IN,

HALF OUT OF THE OCEAN.

HALF IN,

HALF OUT.

I'M HALF LOOKING AT YOU

HALF LOOKING FOR WITNESSES

OF ME

LOOKING AT YOU

AND THE SAND FEELS LIKE GRAVEL BENEATH MY FEET.

THIS IS WHERE BEAUTIFUL THINGS GO TO DIE.

THIS IS WHERE BEAUTIFUL THINGS

LOOK AT YOU AND YOUR HEART STOPS BEATING

AND I WANT TO SAVE YOU FROM DROWNING

SO I CAN CARRY YOU IN MY LUNGS.

OKAY, FINE.

SO I'M NOT SOLD ON THIS WHOLE THING:

OF THROWING OUR BODIES INTO THE OCEAN

AND PRETENDING IT'S NOT ABOUT BEING WASHED CLEAN,

THAT WE'RE NOT BOTH GOING TO DIG OUR NAILS

INTO THE FLOORBOARDS.

 

HAVE YOU HEARD THE STORY ABOUT THE SINKING SHIP?

OF HOW LOVERS TORE AT EACH OTHERS BODIES

SO THEY COULD SAY THEY HELD OUT THE LONGEST.

OF GRABBING AT ANKLES AND SAYING "I SAVED YOU"

I SAVED YOU, DIDN'T YOU SEE;

I BROKE MY SHOULDERS AND USED THEM AS OARS

TO PULL YOU FROM THE RIVER.

OCEAN, NOT RIVER.

SHIT, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN;

I KEEP PULLING MYSELF TO PIECES

FOR A CHANCE AT TOUCHING YOU.

I KEEP PLAYING OFF DEATH WISHES AS BRAVERY

AND YOU KEEP GIVING ME THAT KNOWING LOOK

AND HIDING ALL THE KNIVES IN THE CUPBOARD

UNDER THE SINK.

WE BOTH KEEP ENDING UP WITH BLOOD ON OUR HANDS

AND PRETENDING IT'S MINE.

 

"LOOK, THERE'S FOUR CHAIRS;

IT'S LIKE A REAL APARTMENT NOW."

THERE IS A SAFETY

IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OBJECTS.

YOU KNOW THIS PART:

NEITHER OF US WANTS TO BE HERE.

YOU KNOW THE SAYING:

THE SHOW MUST GO ON.

THE SHOW HAS RECEIVED POOR REVIEWS.

THE SHOW HATES THE COLOUR OF THEIR KITCHEN

BECAUSE IT REMINDS THEM OF YOUR EYES.

THE SHOW IS TERRIFIED.

SO WE KEEP DRESSING UP DEAD THINGS

AND PRETENDING WE DON'T THINK ABOUT

HOW DIFFERENT IT WOULD BE

IF I COULD LOVE YOU

WHEN OTHER PEOPLE WERE AROUND,

IF YOU COULD LOOK AT ME

WITHOUT SEEING THEIR HANDS.

WE'RE BOTH COPING, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

ALL THINGS CONSIDERED A FEW CORPSES

AREN'T THAT BIG OF A DEAL.

YOU KNOW, IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS.

 

SO IT GOES LIKE THIS:

I TOOK MY LOVE OUT TO THE SEA

I LOOKED AT LOVE AND IT LOOKED BACK AT ME.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

AND ALL THAT JAZZ.

ALL THAT RINGING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN;

REEDS LAZILY REACHING FOR THE SUN,

LOVE PULLING YOU UNDER.

TELL ME TO JUMP AND I'LL WRAP SILK

AROUND MY BODY LIKE A DEAD DOG;

CUT GILLS FROM RIBBONS.

TELL ME TO BUILD YOU AN ISLAND AND-

YES, I KNOW;

HERE I GO AGAIN

MAKING PROMISES I CAN'T KEEP.

SAYING PRETTY THINGS

FOR THE SAKE OF THEM BEING PRETTY.

COME ON,

IT SOUNDS NICE, DOESN'T IT?

BLEACHED BONES AND BLUE WATER?

WHERE EVERY SIREN SOUNDS LIKE CHURCH BELLS

AND EVERY MIRROR IS

JUST A MIRROR.

LET'S TALK ABOUT SHORES, SWEETHEART.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE HOMES WE BUILD

AND THE PLACES WE FIND TO BURY THEM.

Eloise Archer is a queer Australian based writer and poet. Archer's work focuses on the ties between us and the marks they leave behind. They are a lover of warm coffee on cold nights, and slowly sinking ships.

Eloise Archer

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