salvation at sea—Abbie Howell

i stand in the same graveyard every morning and gargle saltwater / which bleeds
from my body overnight / i know i do not belong here / but eyes stare,
pleading, into mine from the ground / i feel my bones
and those / of my children, / embraced by dirt and worms and miles
of nothing / and although i cannot leave /  i sometimes slip
through a cracked sky / consciousness fading away… so i grasp / 
desperately to a shore i cannot see / paint the back of my eyes /
with the bruising wave’s palms and burning clouds /
i cannot see /

my tears have long since dried / and even the ocean will not weep
for me now / but here i still am, nails gripping tight / 
to the boards of a barrel / jesus commits his crucifixion
through the splinters in my palms / but will salvation
ever kiss / the wetness of my brow? /
will my crimes ever be absolved? /

living is a sin / that the dead condemn, jealous souls / 
chained to an un-ending beyond- / there i always will be,
i am clinging / to both here / and the hereafter /
i hear my children pierce the night / with their cries / return
to the graveyard at the break / of the dawn / to feel my boatbones drown
in saltwater / that bleeds through the holes / in my open palms /
and dream of salvation / for one day more

Abbie Howell is a 20-year-old poet from England who enjoys writing about spirituality, the natural world and its intersection with the human experience. Find her on Instagram @abbie.hx

photo by Jens Aber and Matt Hardy (via unsplash)