Not Just Water by Natasha King



Not Just Water


Sure enough: the moray eels with their ragged teeth tore me open.

Sure enough, I was always a fool,


so certain I could not be hurt. My heart in her bone armor

slept like the queen in her brittle castle.

I resurfaced: the whole lonely weight of my body

no longer held in place by the sea's soft palms.


Sure enough, the eels had ripped a hole clear through my ribs.

Sure enough, what ran down my chest, the bare shore of my thighs:


it was not just water, it was lush and dark as oil, it boiled up red

from an empty crater, from the hurt I did not prepare my body for.

Years to heal that eel-less gap you left, with its

toothmarked edges, its gush of red longing.




Natasha King is a Vietnamese American writer and nature enthusiast. Her poetry has appeared in Okay Donkey, Ninth Letter, Strange Horizons, Best of the Net, and others. In her spare time she enjoys writing, prowling, and thinking about the ocean. She can be found on Twitter at @pelagic_natasha.