Watching a video of a ship getting crushed by waves

and it hits me: my body is home to fears I don’t remember collecting, every muscle in my back twisted into question marks punctuating possible destruction. I wake up in the night sweating over streetlights flickering under the surge of window units pumping cold dust into bedrooms five stories over streets they’ve repaved so many times you have to wonder if they know that potholes aren’t the only problem. I lose hours unearthing coffins full of stories that aren’t worth writing down, turning the act of telling into a means of survival, as if my own bones will turn to sand if I don’t include you in my remembering. My life becomes an hourglass. A woman screams in the seconds before the waves bulge within the frame of the camera so that when they erupt, obscuring plastic chairs and life preservers, you get the sense that she possesses psychic powers. A sort of splintering occurs. I use the same hands to etch my history into the sides of buildings and to turn on box fans to fend off heat waves. It will all be underwater soon and the swimming lessons we took as children aren’t enough to protect us from the loss of what we thought was ours. Grant me my telling. There isn’t enough time. The waves are here, we just can’t see them. It’s okay to scream.

Molly Andrea-Ryan (she/her) is a poet and prose writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work has been featured or will appear in Sledgehammer Lit, Blue River Review, Barren Magazine, Pithead Chapel, and elsewhere. When she isn't writing, you can find Molly watching horror movies, cooking, or pulling the cats out of the houseplants.