The Sea Is Only What You See — A Poem In The Looking Mirror

Painting by Rachel Sierra

Painting by Rachel Sierra

The sea is not my sadness.
It just distills my current state.

The joy in my heart that’s lifting me up,
it amplifies with every effortless crest at high tide;
if I’m down in the dumps, it lets me grieve with
every trough at low tide. The sea sets me free.

The sea is not my sadness.
I can’t for the life of me understand
how a zillion sparkling grains of sand
encompass dismalness for so many people.

Me, I dig my toes in deep
and let the frothy water work
its way into my head until I’m dizzy.
All that exists is the sea and me.

The sea is not my sadness.
On most days I sit with my book on shore.
The sand sticks in swirling patterns
on the underside of my legs,
and I pretend I’m a fancy work of art.

When I look up and smile,
the waves wave back at me.

The sea is not my sadness.
On days when I need to drown the babble
in my thunderstorm head,
the roaring waves do just that.

And when there’s nothing left to say,
a pint of beer keeps me company,
and the sea just lets me be.

The sea is not my sadness.
I trace poems in the sand with my finger,
happy faces and shells and sometimes
the name of an old summer love.

When the sea washes them away, it’s not melancholic.
I don’t think of fresh starts and begin agains,
I laugh because it could almost be the magic slate
I loved as a child.

The sea is only what you see.


Tanvi Deshmukh is a nineteen year old girl from Pune, India, with an affinity for words and books, cats and coffee,Nepalese food and hippie music, and the colour green (along with Oxford commas). Currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in English, she loves poetry, volunteers at an NGO and plays the keyboard in her free time. Along with devouring books of all kinds, unless of course, she’s in the middle of heated discussions on feminism, patriarchy, gay rights, or what to name the neighbour’s new dog.

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