Jun 06

Sacrifice at Sea

by mariela lemus

Certain invertebrates including species of lobsters, spiders, octopuses, and crickets can shed appendages as a means of self – defense when caught , improving the odds of escape.

Let me tell you about the time I flung
my body from the Block Island bluffs.

Bright air slipping through my fingers.
I’m sure I saw you in the ocean below,

sacrifice at sea weighted with stones,
lobster traps, molded wood.

I lost a sandal in the aftermath, legs in a dead
sprint away from the crime scene,

detached from my torso. Did you see me
abandoned on the cliff? Arms

raised in surrender and hands unfurled
as though hoping to grasp

a tentacle of wind, wispy balloon tail
and how futile it all turned out to be.

Girl in pieces and all the while, the water
swallowing our screams.


Originally from Rhode Island, Mariela Lemus is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Minnesota. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barzakh, The Ear, and Flypaper Magazine, among others. Currently, she splits her time between teaching; writing; reading poetry submissions for Midway Journal and Great River Review; and contracting for the non-profit Sphinx Organization dedicated to diversifying the arts.

Art by Michelle Johnsen

Michelle Johnsen (art editor) is a nature and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA, as well as an amateur herbalist and naturalist. Her work has been featured by It’s Modern Art, Susquehanna Style magazine, Permaculture Activist magazine, EcoWatch.com, EarthFirst! Journal, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and used as album art for Grandma Shake!, Anna & Elizabeth, and Liz Fulmer Music. Michelle’s photos have also been stolen by AP, weather.com, The Daily Mail, and Lancaster Newspapers. You can contact her at mjphoto717 [at] gmail.com.