this is the final draft of the poem where i die, dissolved in sapphire
and dead skin at the ocean’s edge. the high tide wash encrusts my ankles
and wrists, pulling me 12 feet under until i cough out bubbles the size
of my firstborn daughter’s skull. sappho fixes my aching shoulder, snapping
it back into joint with small hands from the inevitable rust of the saltwater. / this
is the final draft of the poem where i die, and sappho bleaches my hair ghost
white for my underwater open casket so the barracudas think i am a dead angel,
glowing from follicle to fingertips in the last golden light of the waterbed. her
dress billows in the riptide. we dance and i am a present; see: women as the amount
of time until the drought ceases and the sun gives way — skin turning soft, and yet
slick like beaded dew on the face of a sapphire, glowing alight. nothing to nothing
to sappho’s wet hair. away from this eternity of dead skin, we drink at deeper wells.
Emma Rose Gowans is second-generation Costa Rican-American with a passion for writing about girls, ghosts, and heritage. She is a creative writing student at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, and has been previously published in Atlas and Alice. You can contact her on Instagram: @emmarosegowans
. She is 16.