The Sea Dream Child

by Caitlin McGuire
She’s dreaming that she’s pregnant

When she wakes, she runs her hands
down her flat stomach, a mixture
of relief, confusion, and almost
disappointment.
She’d grown attached to this
unconceived child, wanted
to feel it kick inside her,
wanted to experience something
alien, something she’s never known,
something made of pieces of her,
but something that isn’t her.

She wants to build a dream child,
A child born with words,
a child born with music in his head,
a child born with the ocean running
through his stomach,
with the rhythm of the tides in his veins,
a child that will grab her hand
and sing, “Mama, look at the water
flowing through me, I can feel
the sea floor!”

She dreams of a child with sea star
arms, and tentacles, and gills,
and shark teeth and blue skin,
and fins, a child that needs no protection
from all the dangers of the world.

She runs her hands down her flat stomach,
and falls back asleep
hoping to return to
the sea-dream child
she never had
but somehow lost.
Caitlin McGuire is a student attending college at UC Berkeley. She is an Assistant at the Berkeley Fiction Review, and her work has appeared in Ruined Music, Poems-For-All and The First Kiss Project. She writes short poems because they fit her five-foot-frame.

© 2009, Caitlin McGuire