by Daniel Suarez

(Standing on the Beach : Taking On the Stars and Cold Wind)

I should have built you an altar, burned a blue seven-day candle, and placed a honey-smothered watermelon in a bowl for you before coming here. I could have brought you that melon and sat it down on the shore for your waves to engulf.

I don’t even have seven pennies for seven wishes to cross myself with and drop into the ocean.

Mother of the Seven Seas, I extend my arms to you, hands palm side up, eyes closed imagining blue flowers — their petals trickling from between my fingers falling and floating on your body of water — hoping that this gesture will please you.

Protector of Children, I come to you tonight disguised in the body of a man, but I will stand beneath your crown of moon and stars and strip my flesh to present the unprotected child, fetal in my chest, who needs your compassion and nourishment.

And if it wasn’t for the Santera that warned me long ago to not go night swimming, I would throw myself into your liquid arms and swim with you : La Sirena and the Pisces fish. The Mother of Children and the man child with salted tears mixing with your salted waters : salt seeking salt to heal old wounds.

Daniel Suarez is a first generation Cuban-American born and raised in Chicago, IL, and currently resides in San Francisco. He is an MFA candidate at SFSU for Creative Writing. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in The Columbia Poetry Review, RHINO, Samizdat Literary Journal, the Bicycle Review, and elsewhere.