on the night the sea urchins came
i was feeling like a helmet of mice.
there were potential ladders 
all over my body & the rain came 
through the walls like fingers through sand.
they crowded the windows & the door--
purple & prickled & smelling 
of the fresh sea. no one knows my terrors
like i do. there is a pocket knife
who floats in the closet. i once tried
to throw my heart off a roof but
it returned, like everything does
as a sea urchin. there was nothing to do 
but to tend them. i filled the tub
with salt water & let them all congregate.
they sang with voices made of thread.
hymns from beneath the waves. 
i moved them around to make room.
laid down with them & imagined my body
equally round & sharp. they promised
not to be a burden which is
what all parts of my body have promised
& lied to me about. the ocean 
drifted in & out of sleep. 
called me a "daughter" instead of
a "son" & i told her it no longer mattered.
i was going to be made of ice soon anyway.
how do you teach yourself 
to want your legs? i ask the urchins
who convene & agree wanting 
is a process, not a bolt of lightning. 
still, i want to be struck 
so loudly i singe. gleeful & burning.
a fire current. a future palm's worth 
of ash. the urchins tucked me into bed
before departing. i asked when they
could come back but they were
already gone--their ears like buoys.
a wave swallows me & i wake up 
in the bathtub of salt water
sobbing like a glass bottle.

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