“You can trust people with grief,”
she says, piecing together a bouquet
of bee balm and blueweed.
My fingers pick at heads of sea lavender
I carry through tides.

Rushing sand scuffs the backs of my knees
the way pink thrift sends fleeting scents
of honey before swallowed by salt.

She plucks out leaves,
brown and curling,
tossing them into passing foam.
Over her shoulder,


I let my dress into the waves,
steadying my pace, unswayed
by the fabric’s heavy ebb and flow;
my feet trudge against grain.

Her skirt billows around her waist:
a temporary buoyancy,
momentary lightness.

Plumes of purple and strikes of crimson
fall behind her. She stops
to where our elbows graze the water
and our toes tap sand without sinking.

She stares at the sun.
I watch the sky burn.

My hands release, unwrap from tender stems,
relinquishing them to the sea—
undulations meet unfurled palms.
“They’ll wash back, you know.”

I know.
She is more intimate with death:
tides crashing behind us,
bubbles settling on the surface,
a white-knuckled scream.

She throws her fistful overhead,
petals scattering before they hit water.

Jordan Nishkian

Jordan Nishkian is an Armenian-Portuguese writer based in California. Her prose and poetry explore themes of duality and have been featured in national and international publications. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Mythos literary magazine and author of Kindred, a novella.