Inked at birth

I was dark-washed in ink when I was born. And no one saw, not my mother, no nurse. My father recognized the oil sinking in, but couldn’t understand
what it was, he couldn’t understand what it was
in himself, to protect me.

It seeped through soft, porous skin, found my chest and settled:  lay suction over my heart; a cold hand on my lungs and before I even took my first breath it was entwined, filtering the pure oxygen for itself.

If I open my mouth wide enough, you can see the fingers squeezing.
My bones growing around it the way tree boles swallow fencing wire. We exist the way ivy overcomes a white house. It’s the ivy. I’m the house.

And on days like today, I feel the dark tentacles crawling up my throat. A cecaelia after my voice.  I don’t want to eat because I’ll feed it. I’d rather sleep and let my subconscious reign it in, wrestle it the way only dreams can. When I feel that sea witch coming, I’m afraid to open my mouth. But my voice is the only thing that continues to save me.

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