How many years have I spent shoving air into your lungs?
My back bowed above your limp limbs, my hands sunk between your ribs.

Sand scatters through my room in the fan’s breeze.
Those ruined castles in my bed once meant something.

My grandfather wrote a love letter sixty years ago.
“Your sea glass eyes deserve far more than these ceaseless tides.”

Hearts can become shells. Currents crash through chambers
And salt mines form in veins: the ocean’s elegy on emptiness.

I’ve been to thirty-eight lighthouses in my life, but I could never
Learn to be that lifeline, that beacon to the buoys barely floating.

MADISON ETHERIDGE is a sophomore English and French double major at the University of Southern Mississippi. Originally from McComb, Mississippi, she lives to find adventure, pet all the animals, capture the honesty of the world in words, and drink excessive amounts of green tea. She has previously been published in the America Library of Poetry's collection Discovered.