The Sea Can Stand Anything—I Can’t

By Ariel Francisco

after James Wright

How can something so large cast
no shadow? The sea holds its own
darkness— I hold my own breath
when no one else will, dip my head
below the water, close my eyes.
I don’t need that sting to tell me
how easily I will be consumed, how
little of the ocean I can hold in
my own body before it darkens.


Ariel Francisco, "The Sea Can Stand Anything—I Can't," from A Sinking Ship Is Still a Ship, Burrow Press, 2020. Originally published in Saw Palm Literary Journal. Reproduced with permission of the author.