CW: grief, death

well worn

by Hannah Rousselot

in this moment, i feel your gossamer

touch through the milk tinged light.

a permanent touch in spite

of its effervescent nature-

it falls into my bone marrow

leaving your fingerprints on

my newly created blood cells.

deep sea jellyfish are a full crimson.

the red light spectrum does not

penetrate that far in the ocean,

making them, for all intents and purposes,

invisible. i remember when

you asked me if i could also see

the semi transparent debris that

bisected your field of vision- “floaties”

that drift in your eyes rather than

rise to the waves of the tide.

i remember i responded, “i don’t

know what you’re talking about.”

when you start therapy you learn about

error thoughts called “cognitive distortions.”

paraphrased: ways your mind tricks

you into being miserable.

i catastrophize, imagine the worst case

scenario over & over & over again.

a false security blanket, a charm against

allowing the worst to blossom.

but it did not matter how many times

I had cried myself to bed over your predicted death.

After all, when it came to your door

you opened it, dewy eyed, all the same.

all my tears were soaked up,

gone back to the jellyfish, and left me with

a hole as big as my fist, which is to say

as big as my heart.

on my way to your funeral,

in my sexy black dress (for you)

and my modest black sweater (for decorum)

i caught sight of cellophane blotch dance

across my vision- my first floatie. i laughed,

right in the parking lot, overwhelmed by

how indifferent the world is,

how cruel it is perceived.

in this moment, almost ten years later,

i sit a continent away. i watch the palm trees sway

and the ocean crash. i follow the floaties

in my vision and tell you, for the first and millionth time,

that i know what you meant.

the waves nuzzle my feet and then, days later,

blood red jellyfish move through them,

imperceptible to the untrained eye.

Hannah Rousselot (she/her) is a queer French-American author and poet. She writes about her experiences with mental illness, grief, addiction, love, and nature (particularly the ocean.) She also enjoys singing at any possible time and creating very mediocre paintings.

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