Joyce Ker


Eleven when I nearly drowned
He was watching.
I stepped on a sea urchin while snorkeling
Spikes dug into my skin
like shark teeth
Currents of electricity
swam through my foot
as water swallowed me
In my left temple, a pulse:
my brain pounding.
I could not breathe.

Thirteen when I met him
swore I loved him
He put his hands around my waist
“A bit chubby here.”
His words stung like brine
Pushing me underwater
deep into a chasm
Waves hissed at me,
their tongues covering my body
impregnated with salt
Seaweed groped my legs
coiling around my chest
I could not breathe.

Fifteen when I learned to float
Tossed his words of shrapnel
into the ocean’s abyss
I’m made of seaglass
Jagged, tumbled
Still shining.
Broke harpoons on my skin,
Snapped spears on my neck.


Joyce Ker lives in San Jose, California. She enjoys writing poetry, playing piano, and is an ’80s music fanatic.

Leave a Reply