• notdeermag

Titan, Sam Moe


The ocean turns from green to black, dripping jellyfish goo. shots of lump crab. The future

of the ship is uncertain, rotting mer-people carved on the flanks. Would you please

come above? Twenty-five buttons like eyes, tricky shapes on pants, panic


a demon I feed to the sea. A word, panic, that I don’t like to say. It’s late- eight, drinking isn’t permitted on the floor. I want your buttons, I’ll super- glue them to lobsters, turn the future red, raw. Just once throw me a tail made of fish ribs, people are afraid of the bitter water but not I. People,

evaporate me, panic secrets into peach-colored cloth. Toss food, please,

into the reef. I’ll leave if that’s what you want. Drinking amber ales, you

joke till I’m pink-cheeked, naming puncture holes in your arm from accidents,


jelly burns

buttons

steeple-high reef

brushing boat’s belly.

My future was blood until you and your oath, your panic,

your burning of all cutting boards and cuttlefish. Slinking

past tables, I refill waters, tighten my pleases and thank-yous,

polite to the point of pain. Please don’t be greedy. Only I get the

spoon, the buttons,

the mouthful of red fish for dinner. Drinking

after hours is another matter. We are hurt-people,

scarred and flawed people, mer-people, panicked.

We the scared, we the waiters and the water—

I think the sea is finally asleep. The future is hard-shelled, bony.

The ship whispers, Please, and the sea clams itself. I can’t see the moon,

panic a white-hot oyster in my chest. There you are, half-

awake, bearing open-faced wolf crabs, creeping legs and tender

panic.

 

Sam Moe is a queer writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is pursuing a PhD in creative writing at Illinois State University. Her work has appeared in Overheard Lit Mag and Cypress Press. She received an Author Fellowship from Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing residency in June, 2021.

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