Swim down

Swim as far into the plum-thick dark

as your lungs will let you

Your limbs grow long and heavy

Summer boils the ocean’s face with a kiss

and you are writhing with pleasure

deep within the brine and undertow


and let a scream escape you

Watch all the lovers you’ve ever known

rise toward the light above

held in their spheres of hot breath gone cold


Swim down

until your skin chafes against the sand

and kelp and living things that go unnamed

Push your fingers

into what has always been

dreaming along the seafloor

what welcomes you

like a man’s warm mouth coiling around

your innocence


Swim and forget who you were moments ago

when the salted breeze lashed your skin

Swim and wait until your lungs

ache with impatience

with fear

with remembering

how it felt to be something hot-blooded and hungry for more

Swim and die a thousand deaths

Swim and forget the men whose arms could not hold you forever

whose tongues could not carry your name into morning


knowing you must surface

But when you do

the tide will deliver you home

Swim and see how you make new worlds

ready to devour the shore

Daniel Brennan (he/him) is a queer writer and coffee devotee from New York. His work has recently appeared in Passengers Press, Sky Island Journal, The Banyan Review, Hive Avenue, and Last Leaves Magazine, among others. You can find him on Twitter/Instagram at @dannyjbrennan.