Whispers drift with the salty breeze. Oh, my dear.
His tender hand brushes a lock of hair
behind her ear. Just, for me, bear
it a little longer. Let’s enjoy the fireworks at eight.
A soft, hesitant smile, turned not to
him, but to the churning sea.
It was on her front porch that his lightless eyes see
her for the first time after it happened. I’m sorry, my dear,
he whispers in her ear after he kisses her, his voice too
smooth to be genuine. She touches her hair,
twirling it around her fingers decorated with eight
golden rings. None are from him. Sometimes it’s too much to bear.
Sometimes it feels like a grizzly bear
stomping on her ribcage; she can’t breathe in the sea
air when the fireworks illuminate the sky at eight
o’clock—at night, the only time he deigns to call her my dear.
They are alone on the beach when he strokes her hair,
and they finally leave, with sand in their clothes, at two.
Sometimes she cannot believe what her life has come to.
Her friends plead with her to not grin and bear
it, like he has told her to. She dyes her hair
blue like painted tears, blue like the restless sea.
He frowns when he sees her. Oh, my dear,
tell me what’s wrong. Does he love his wife, a woman of twenty-eight?
He interrupts her before she finishes. Tell me what I can do to
help you, to fix you, my love, my dear.
Words once stuck in her throat slip from her lips. I can’t seem to bear
it anymore. She almost hopes he doesn’t see,
doesn’t hear her. But no—she hides her tears in blueblue hair.
She rakes her fingers through her hair,
and it’s been six months, and she ate
alone again last night, and she has not seen the sea
since the night of the technicolor fireworks, and it’s too
much sometimes, and now it feels like she laid herself bare
for nothing, and when even the moon can’t hear her, she whispers oh my dear.
She cuts off her hair and dyes it the color of sour cherries and dried blood in order to
convince herself that eight months, two-thirds of a year, is long enough and that the bear
in her chest will hibernate when she visits the sea and she doesn’t have to be called my dear.