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  • Writer's pictureSabrina Guo

Open Sea

Recognized by the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest

My twin and I read on a boat

in the open sea, the smell of oil seeping

into our sandwiches like rotten eggs.

The sun hits the boat

at the perfect angle. The air

like burnt sake. My family

wearing surgical masks,

afraid of suffocation:

a burnt smell layering

our throats with a slick coating—

heavy, contagious.

And I feel guilty—

my family uses oil

for food, fuel, light.

In fertile soils, we once planted

food in the first place—

Ungrateful children, Mother scolds

as we use her fire, her gift

to the newborn

she once beheld to us:

our life source,

to destroy her body:

her land, her waters.

The boat rocks, sails

shake, tokkuris tip. As I reach

for my parents, I see

the skyscrapers of America

coming into view.

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