United States

"half of me is ocean. half of me is sky."

Message from Writer

she / her || community ambassador alumni

Some links to learn more about the BLM movement, police brutality, and environmental racism:



The Surface

July 5, 2020

Mount Iliamna bleeds in layers of frost, leeching snow drifts from its worn limbs.

It towers above Cook Inlet like a skyscraper, films of sleet decorating its sides and billowing into the still waters of Kachemak Bay. From a distance, the summit looks as if it can fit between my chapped fingertips, but as the Edna Frances chugs farther into the bay, it grows bigger.

Purple bags circle across my face, a sign of exhaustion, but even still, I open my eyes wide, running my fingertips through the water and breathing in the sweet mountain air. Bliss is not infinite, yet my scientifically-mannered brain craves it, craves the unconfined feeling that spirals through my veins like a corkscrew. For here, I’m nothing more than a girl swaddled by eternity: treading through broken waves and rugged tide-pools, hair tangled in the wind. Here, I drink the neverending sky.

Grandpa pulls the sputtering vessel to a halt, years of wisdom gleaming beneath his glasses. He’s a wanderer, a man destined for something bigger than the golden cornrows and livestock barns that crowded his childhood, made for something even greater than The Last Frontier.

Yet, he remains humble to his beginnings, laughing when I pour too much wasabi over my charred salmon, the thick spice fuming from my nose. 

Perhaps this is what lets him see what I cannot.

I scurry across the deck when he points at the water, the strings of my life jacket jostling. Meters from the boat, a small otter bobs up and down, clasping a mussel.

Its fur melts like warm chocolate, glistening in the high sun. However, it’s not the otter’s coat that causes me to grin, but rather the deep knowing that circles in its eyes. They’re like marbles, round and dark, yet fuller, brimming with fear and joy and tranquility, brimming with life.


The otter’s eyes are midnight.

Soaked in coils of gaping sky, they swell, stars flickering in their bottomless grip. But before the otter can swim away, it turns its head, staring right at me. 

It knows.

Understanding is written in its unfaltering gaze, its wet paws and splashing feet. The realization hits me seconds before it plunges into the rocking crests, swaying the steady boat. 

Bliss is not infinite, for there always will be struggles brewing beneath the water. You can only stay on the surface for so long.

Yet, the otter dives into the bay head-first.



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  • July 5, 2020 - 3:58pm (Now Viewing)

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  • SpookyC! (#Queenie’s Halloween)

    Wow, this is amazing! It is so eloquent and beautiful! Great job!

    Also, did you run todayXD?

    about 2 months ago
  • Landofstories

    replying: OH, got it, sorry I wasn't thinking properly! The heat is really getting to me lmao! Thank you so so much and you too!

    about 2 months ago
  • Hazen

    Reply: Thanks so much for the comment! I loved reading this , the way you captured the deep wisdom and playfulness in our little friends, and then connected it to something larger than you and them... sublime. I really liked " Soaked in coils of gaping sky, stars flickering in their bottomless grip. "

    3 months ago
  • avoiding the big bang

    your writing is stellar as always. i really like this. a lovely interpretation of the prompt.

    4 months ago
  • BeTheChange18

    Love this piece! You nailed the prompt so perfectly :)

    4 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    YES WOOHOO YOU DID IT *other unintelligible praise*

    4 months ago