Washing Into Me

Hawaii ocean oahu

This one boy and I were together for a while but it ended.
Because it was toxic. Because it was one-sided.
We were always laying in the same bed but it felt like we were an ocean apart
And I don’t know how to swim so I was waving my arms and calling out his name,
Asking him to notice me, to bring me safe to shore
But my screams were drowned out by his background noise and the waves became too high,
Always crashing into me.

Then there was this other boy with luscious wavy hair and glasses who washed into my yard in the midst of this tsunami.
The still-rising, still-growing piece-of-shit boy.
A breath of fresh air after months of trying to breathe underwater.
I remember this night and how every ounce of confidence I had lost, all the words and everything I knew came back to me.
I remember him and how he made me want to be better to myself.
So, I started to kick and slowly swam a little closer the surface.

Every time I looked at this boy it felt like I was closer to the top.
He reminded me of everything I had forgotten.
This is it, this is the answer.
I said this and I meant it.
This moment. Now. This boy and me.
This could be the wave to get me over.
Us over.
He was trying to swim in his own tsunami, too.
But it became too much.
Neither of us could actually help each other get over just yet.
We’re both not whole and this is holding us down.
But I know what I felt when I held his hand.
And there are those kisses that make me weak in the knees.
There are better reasons to crumble, I’m sure, but you haven’t seen this boy.
You haven’t seen what he can do.

Tell me, boy, do you feel as lonely as I do?
Do you try to fill the voids of your loneliness with different pastimes, investing your time and soul into your work?
Writing and creating and researching and more creating
Trying to sleep and rest your mind in hopes that this will make everything okay.
That all of this will help you get to shore.
Do you ever use others to fill your loneliness, boy?

Another boy swam close to me.
This one made promises he couldn’t keep.
Not that I bought into them but maybe I wanted to believe he could fulfill them
Because I’m still a fool.
I fumbled with his ideas of fun and we taught each other a few things.
Gave each other a few things.
I still remember how he made me feel like I was getting somewhere in this ocean we call life.
How he supported and validated me even if just for a month.
But I couldn’t use him any longer so we said goodbye.
This wasn’t an easy goodbye either.
I may not have liked him as much but this meant I finally had to do all of this on my own.
I had to learn how to swim without these 3 boys helping me.
Being alone hurts
And there are days where I can’t hold my loneliness in well enough.
And anyway, who says I need boys to save me or show me the way?
I was raised by a woman,
A raging force all on her own.
But even then, I’m sure she gets lonely, too.

I saw the second boy a week ago
And when he held me, it felt great.
And when he had sex, it felt amazing.
We ordered food and watched my favorite show.
He kept looking over and staring at me while I scarfed down pizza and recited the lines of the show ‘cause I’ve seen it so many times.
He smiled every time.
I lose myself on that curve.
But maybe I mix up what happened with what’s going on in my mind.
Maybe I don’t know what’s real.
But don’t we all do that?
Project our fantasies onto others.
Is it like that for you, boy?

Sometimes when I lay with you or talk to you,
I think
For a second, for a minute,
That these kisses, the sex, the bum dates
Could lead to more.
To love, that old thing.
See, I’m still a fool.
Still writing poems for pretty boys.
Still trying to swim.
Half of me feels like I’m getting there, the other half is still trying to breathe underwater.

I remember you all, boys, don’t you see.
But I’m tired and need to breathe.
As much as I want one of you,
I need to swim and be free.

I’m finally floating around in the water.
I’m alone and I’m taking in the view.
I can breathe and although it’s scary being by myself, I like that this is new.
The ocean doesn’t ask for anything from you.


Marissa De La Cerda : Fast-talking, film loving Latina with a deep abiding love for pugs, Queen, and screenwriting. Striving to speak, verbally and visually, for those who have been silenced by different systems of oppression.