Joyce Ker

Fighter

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
squeezing
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.

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

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