My innocence then was a line in the sand.
I didn’t see him approaching ceaselessly like the waves; demanding and breaking, wearing down the rocks until there was nothing left. He told me love while his breath stank hot, told me quiet, told me still. Shook my bones until there was music — until I was not six and he was not twenty-seven, and I became woman bartering bruises for body parts and tasting begging for the first time.
The ocean takes it all. Draws back. Exposes what lingers underneath. It rushes forward. Envelopes. Does not apologize. Sand is just rocks. And he was just a man. I still tell myself this sometimes in the quiet when my pillow is too much like a shell echoing back
At night I dream of my innocence. It is a young girl. She has my hair. Someone is jogging on the beach and finds her bloated body, face blue, without breath. It is obvious she has been gone for a long, long time.