In Florida, we swim with the manatees and I tell you about the time I thought I was going to drown in three feet of water hugging my navel. You say
typical, Black people can’t swim, as if
your flesh doesn’t match mine but you dip in the water and hold your breath, practicing for the day you get pulled over I assume. You say the trick to swimming is harvesting as much air as you can.
Learn to outlive the ocean in a battle
and I wade neck-deep in a bay almost as dark as
my palms. My grandfather told me that water is the strongest element. I begin a list of things diminished by water beginning with the stack of wood crumbling underneath my porch, eroding from termites and neglect. In my dream, I am washed away by water so fresh it could reflect God’s eyes before he opens the gates to heaven. You do not belong to the ocean, says the earth
who clings to my fingernails.
Amber Moss is a Black writer and editor from Atlanta. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of South Florida and completed a writers residency with the Sundress Academy of the Arts. She is the author of Some Kind Of Black, forthcoming in January 2022 (Nymeria Publishing). Her poetry has been published in Bewildering Stories, Little Rose Magazine, Liminality Magzine, Poetry Super Highway, and others.