Ode to the Whale I Keep In My Mouth

You sloping-blue, lonely song

swimming in the deep of me.


You body of cerulean wishes 

that stick close as water. 


I keep fishing in the midnight sea black of me 

for ways to tell people about

the thoughts you slide inside my throat. 


But all I come up with 

are dinner-party-shallow lines

stuck like hooks in my smile.


Who taught the secret longing in you

to sing like that–

so that no person 

with the world firm under their feet 

could ever hope to hear it?


Are you lonely in there,

frequently dreaming of acceptance 

in a language located on your own frequency?


Do your eyes grow tired of watching 

for lighthouse hearts like yours?


Do they spit salt tears at the moon

whenever your worst memories surface?


Or does the sky rock your soul in ocean waves

until you can sleep with your mistakes wrapped around you,

and is that company enough?


If you answer me, will I even know you have done so?


Or will I keep babbling, keep bubbling up 

this cheap-champagne laugh,

until I drown out all the music you are trying to make of me?

MORGAN NIKOLA-WREN began writing poetry for various literary periodicals in 2013. She is a winner of the Pangaea Worldwide Poetry Slam, 2016, and has published four books of poetry. Her debut book, Magic with Skin On, received a Goodreads Choice nomination for Best Poetry Book of 2017.

Morgan ran away with her husband’s circus for a year, but now works at a school library, which is not all that different. She is perpetually searching for new favorite words, more black clothing, and the perfect design for her next tattoo.

Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/morgannikolawren, follow @morgannikolawren on Instagram, or visit www.morgannikolawren.com.