Bottles

Empty plastic bottles, covered
in algae and their own melted flesh,
float out in the middle of the lake.
Her spirit is like a giant net
pulling all of them to shore.
She digs through them
on her knees looking for the ones
with messages.
The only one she finds
is for someone else
so she doesn’t get the context.
That never mattered,
and she reads it aloud to me
while I sit and bite my nails
in the shade of the only tree,
near the beach.
The text was written on a sliver
of birch bark, in pencil,
so it was slightly faded.
A desperate attempt to tell someone,
“I’m out here somewhere, don’t forget.”
She wouldn’t, lying there covered in sand
watching gulls fight over crabs in endless
dogfights, and because of her
neither will I.

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