To My 5-Year-Old Self at the Sweetwater Sea — By Diane Silver

The hot sand will sting the bottoms of both bare feet.

Ignore it.


Your mother will shout it’s time to go.

Ignore it.


Your brother will laugh.

Ignore it.


Your skin will open.

(pay attention)

like the sides of a box banging down.

Sun will heat the inside, the walls will melt.

Incredibly bright. Surprisingly cool.

Your eyes will adjust.


You will see the line of water meeting sky,

swelling, subsiding, huffing up again.

You will smell it.

(How could you have missed it before?)

The metallic bit of pure water.


You have become porous.

You are no longer of this earth.

You could become sun.

You could revel in light replacing fingers, toes, face, stomach.

it would be easy. You know this for a fact, but choose to stay.

(Curiosity perhaps.)


Remember this

when your mother grabs your upper arm and drags you to the car.


Remember this

when the only escape from middle school is a cramped square window.


Remember this

when you’re alone in your house, wondering if you should make a plan to die.


Remember this

when you open your door today, and the mob is screaming.

~ Diane Silver

Diane Silver is an activist and journalist who grew up in Michigan, surrounded by sweetwater seas, otherwise known as The Great Lakes. Her work has appeared in Ms and other venues. Her latest books are Your Daily Shot of Hope vol. 1 (Meditations for an Age of Despair) and vol. 2 (Meditations on Awakening).


James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.


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