WAS MY MOTHER THE OCEAN OR A RAINSTORM? I wanted the ocean to be my mother, shaking seaweed from her hair, her skirt a bolt of bright blue fabric drifting towards me as more than an idea. I heard fables retold on makeshift rafts, rocking to and fro as I ambled among rocks, beheld the crest of a wave. I hoped for a moonlit channel to traverse, to see my face reflected back. But my mother, the rainstorm, shook berries from the tree, lashed my ankles with pebbles. Unwanted roots emerged from underneath. I take the harbor ferry to leave my roots behind and lift me out of the dark, extend my eyes to where sails slide into sun. I mine the stars for milk, place my finger on my navel and a seagull emerges, a clock in its beak. Time is a procession. I am hunted by evening clouds, and I lose connection to my mother like a whistle fading in fog. Pain nourishes me because it contains seeds of goodness. I put on a blindfold and keep still. Now I don’t need to choose. I am not afraid. Ocean and rain, teach my heart to sing like the clear water that flows night and day. Who is that still voice in the water?
Susan Michele Coronel is a NYC-based poet and educator. She has a B.A. in English from Indiana University-Bloomington and an M.S. Ed. in Applied Linguistics from the City University of New York. Her poems have appeared in publications including Prometheus Dreaming, Hoxie Gorge Review, Ekphrastic Review, Passengers Journal, Street Cake, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Newtown Literary, and HerWords.