Have you ever seen the ocean at night?
Have you witnessed the wise man peel back the flesh from his hands,
shed his wrinkled skin
to reveal a bare bone graveyard,
exposing battle-scar wounds with bullets still embedded in the tissue,
only the moonlight to extract his stitches and illuminate his naked body?
Have you witnessed a still body beneath the covers?
The unveiling of a bride only to reveal a decomposing corpse–
But there’s something so beautiful in its grotesque rawness.
We walk on unstructured surfaces and wipe the dust from the soles of our feet,
fracturing jawlines and creating splinters inconceivable to the human eye,
shifting plates and initiating a grand migration of ground-shattering earthquakes—
Have you seen the tide retreat?
Without a mirror to enhance their spectacle, the stars become a dull haze overhead.
I’ve seen that same fog in people’s eyes,
a faded stretch of sublimity wearing thin,
like pulling wax.
I once heard that the earth is enclosed within a dome,
and the stars are just puncture wounds in its surface.
Beyond the opaqueness of the glass sky, there is an infinite span of brilliance
that shines with unfaltering glory,
unpolluted by our hands.
We probe the glass, smear our fingerprints on its surface
until we can no longer see our own reflection.
If enough pressure is applied, its skin will shatter,
and a million falling fragments will collide with the waves—
Soon to be buried beneath the ocean floor until the tide can retreat again
and they will be washed up, stripped of their immaculacy
as they cut into the soles of our feet,
merely fractured shells in the sand.
Originally from Naperville, Illinois, Emily Gray is a freshman at the University of Southern Mississippi studying Music Education. She enjoys writing in her free time, primarily focusing on poetry. Aside from writing, she also loves conducting, having been a drum major for both her high school and Drum Corps International. Emily hopes to continue writing poetry throughout her college career while pursuing her passion for music.