I always knew that one day you’d come for me, but why did you have to come so soon? Does the sky really want me now? I’m not ready to taste the clouds yet.
The sea snakes came with you. Black and white stripes come to steal the breath from my lips. They can’t have it; it’s still mine to savor before the salt burns my tongue. And now your arms twist around my chest, and you pull us deeper.
Bone-eaters are waiting down in the gloom. They linger among the whale bones, the ones standing like fangs buried in the sand. They snap with their pallid maws dripping with thick, viscous, opalescent slaver. I can hear them keening their hunger below.
You told me I needed to breathe, but how can I when the sea snakes bite at my throat, when the salt licks at my lips, when your hands smother my gasps. Why would you lie?
The sea snakes are here to die with me, but they can’t taste the brine that fills my throat, my lungs. I see stars in a skyless night. I would climb the clouds with you and the sea snakes, but I feel too heavy to float now.
You whisper in my ear like the sweetest of poetries.
You say that no one should die alone.
You say to be a sad, lost soul.
You say to look toward a sky that does not exist.
And you say it will only taste like salt a little while longer.