SHAREEN K. MURAYAMA

Title: Cast Away 
 
Poem: Swimming in a pool on an island 
surrounded by ocean is like crying over a movie where siblings 
 
reunite after a parent’s death; 
when really you’re just crying over a movie where siblings 
 
reunite after a parent’s death. 
Blame the soundtrack, unbottling what’s urn’d like a child-proof
 
cap, a shallow wound. But in my story
I was drowning. In my story, he doesn’t save or ruin me. 
 
I swallowed panic. I drowned things
like bodies inside me, downed rain.hip first.broken in half 
 
in a tube.no hands.the last & first 
to come out of the womb, a softly stretched shirt.
 
I grew up & over flooded someone else’s ocean
instead of diving in, lying at the bottom, lying to parents, plot-caked 
 
tile marked. They bear the sun & shame—
increasing alertness.alarm.whirlpooling. There was no one left
 
to save me, save my brother. How evenly flat 
you & red dirt stained others. You can never construct carnations: 
 
a funeral cart, white. The end of a map. 
Other animals have alternate self-protection methods.
 
Seconds before a wooden bowl hits the tile,
I know exactly where it will crack, like how I can spot a savior 
 
when cold-blooded animals change colors 
too swiftly—edged down, jeans spread. There are times when 
 
I’ve said no to pie.to acid.to boys 
who didn’t know what they wanted: to camouflage themselves. 
 
I wonder if I’m the broken part 
in the wooden bowl, like a pool in the middle the ocean,
 
holding my pieces together, 
& I’d cry like crying over a movie about

Shareen K. Murayama is a Japanese-Okinawan American poet and educator who lives in Honolulu, Hawai`i. She spends her afternoons surfing and her evenings with her dog named Squid. She’s a reader for The Adroit Journal, a Featured Poet at Negative Capability Press, and her art is forthcoming in Puerto Del Sol, Bamboo Ridge, & Agapanthus Collective. You can find her on IG & Twitter @ambusypoeming.

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