Rachel Charlene Lewis

I Offer Myself to the pacific

My bones want to grind, seek to silently slip into the sand, seek permission for us to become a new part of the beach, a sea-soaked fixture. The drive from atlantic to pacific was more on us than we anticipated and we never even touched the wheel. There is loose sand in the most nerve-filled pockets of our skin, and it needs to get out. Our nerves hated the mountains in Utah. They said peak too many times. We kept waiting for the end.

In bed with the woman who got me to the pacific, I shake and sob. I can taste the grittiness of the pieces of myself I’ve lost in my mouth. Other pieces, too hesitant to leave, hang as seashells from the roof of my mouth like loose teeth. They jingle, become wind chimes when I lie: I’m okay, really, don’t worry. She knows what the chimes mean. She ties her fingers into my hair to keep me and to keep her forehead to mine and to silence the pieces of myself I can’t get rid of. When we first started loving that April I ran, swore that she would be the one to kill me. All I could think about that April was my own death. I figured if I didn’t do it she would. Somebody had to. Some days I walk down the sidewalk and flinch with every sound of other people living around me. On the road trip, I did point in awe at every cow. I wanted to own one, to hold one, to make it teach me how to breathe. If cows had beaches, I don’t think I’d ever leave.

My girlfriend holds my head to hers and everything in me is silent. The grit leaves my mouth, or hides. I feel like I exist less. I feel her breath on my ears. She is the breeze that pulls back the smog with both fists.

I never meant to dissolve. But sometimes I want to fade. To be re-birthed by the moon somewhere else, somewhere with more corners and land that fits the curves of my feet. I want to fill my arches because they’ll never know the ground. I kept telling the people who loved me that my skin felt too tight and that I needed corners to box me in and hold me down. They didn’t hear me because the words came out in screams about how the air in my throat was always too hot or too cold. Now, I don’t scream. Now, I lay on the beach on the shore of the pacific.

I build castles beneath my arches. I imagine alien creatures flooding the society I’ve built. I put them out with my feet. On their homes, I grind pieces of myself away. The movement makes my wind chimes sing. I imagine that in alien creature years my victims had forty centuries for every human second. With their bones, I fill my empty spaces. I write my gratitude in the sand with my thumb.



Rachel Charlene Lewis is a co-founder of The Fem, the editor of Vagabond City, and an MFA drop-out. Her work has been published in The Normal School, The Offing, BOAAT Press, and elsewhere. She is always on Instagram and Twitter @RachelCharleneL. She is quite queer.