By Victoria Romero

This piece was featured in our winter show, A Gathering of Poets and Writers, 2022.


for the very first time in my entire life


I am floating


floating upon this crystalline pool 

I find myself coming back to


why does it keep following me?


whatever I do, I can’t seem to leave this pool


even after my tears are shed ‘til there is no more

and my home is gone, a million miles away


I find myself submerged in these chlorine-filled waters


you know, it almost feels unreal

floating here


the past occasions I’ve visited the rocky pool

I step inside and immediately sink


I sink


I fall


fall into the water’s concrete depths


though it hurts to open my eyes I know my 

hair is whisking itself to and fro


kept in motion by the bubbles


as if it is the long, straggling tentacles

of a bulbous jellyfish


this jellyfish continues to sink

as its tentacles continue to flow behind


it swims, further and further


the natural light of the sun fades with each inch






the jellyfish isn’t sure she likes it


until her own heart, almost miraculously, begins to glow


emanating a soft, warm orangey-pink hue

contrasting against the cool dark tones of the deep sea


she cups her hands around the glow as she sinks further 


this happens every time I go to the pool


such a small, confined area transforming at this moment


with bustling bunches of children splashing their little arms

and the never-ending, gleaming depths of the sea


and yet


this does not seem to be happening right now


instead of living in a world where I only seem to fall


I now live between two worlds: the land and the ocean


as my still body remains suspended

I close my eyes 


the water lapping at my ears


the sounds of my parents’ laughter


and a muffled, silent peace 




is my existence


by dying to learn how to live

I’m no longer living just to die


I exist between these two worlds


these dimensions of land and sea


for home is a fallacy, isn’t it?


here, afloat is where I seek to be


for the very first time in my entire life


I am floating