I become a transparent being,
brainless and ceaseless.
Easier, to be transformed,
to first be human and then not,
the blink of an eye I no longer have,
unable to view the world that wishes
to crush, the world that is cruel
and lonely— I transform and am unfound.
I float in the cresting currents,
everything the same in and out with the tide.
Maybe this way, I don’t have to feel
much of anything— and what a relief.
A jellyfish feels no weight, buoyed by water,
feels no need to retreat, to push onward.
Do jellyfish feel pain? the little girl
asks her father once I wash up on the beach,
all my journeys dictated
by something else,
the currents, the tide, the waves,
my family, my heart.
Of course not, the father says
and he looks nothing like my
father, though as a jellyfish
naturally I do not think of him.
The father picks up a piece
of driftwood and stabs me
in my brainless, all-the-same
circle of a body. See? They’re nothing
at all. No lungs, no heart. Nothing.
And I lie there
and tell myself I
don’t feel anything,
tell myself it’s a relief
to be nothing. I look up
at this man and his daughter,
who watch the way I sprawl on the sand.
No blood, no veins,
no eyes that water with tears.
He drops the stick and takes her hand.
And as they walk away,
I think of letting go
and pushing away
and the thin, tendrilled distance
between the two.
Robin Cedar is a poet and teacher living in Oregon, where she spends most of her time drinking tea and thinking about whales. She is currently poetry editor for Random Sample Review. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in Blue Mesa Review, Pacifica Literary Review, Leveler, Moon City Review, among others. She received her MFA in poetry from Oregon State University and served as poetry editor and social media manager to its lit mag, 45th Parallel. When she remembers it exists, she can be found talking about nothing on her twitter, @robin_cedar.