i begin as water: a new island emerges
from the sea. i am spit out by darkness
and born screaming. in one life,
time is uncharted and fluid as sleep.
in this life, we border the years as we
do countries decreed on a map.
but my body reared in blood is
unaccustomed to borders – my
mother’s body once was my body,
too, and the only earth i knew.
my parents name me, and then
name me again. evidence of
existence marked on paper. in one
life, i am born beneath the trees
and the whole earth is my body. in this
life, trees burn and do not come back.
i am milk boiled to form a skin. i watch
it break, and break, and seal itself shut.
i beg the sun to colour me. instead, i burn
and my skin stains and pinks and peels.
in the shower, i wash off salt. i shed my
hair, pull my remnants from the drain.
every month, i empty blood into the
toilet and flush my body out to sea.
this is what becomes of me: the border-
lines of water. i sink my feet into
sand and the tide comes up to meet me,
makes the whole ocean my body
and then unmakes me.
Kaya Lattimore is a Filipina-Australian writer and spoken word poet. As a mestiza and immigrant womxn, her writing obsessions include diaspora, family histories, racial identity, and language. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Cicerone Journal, Not Very Quiet, Australian Multilingual Writing Project and Djed Press.