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Poetry & Prose | December 4, 2017

The ocean gave birth to me. I once stood with my mother looking out at the fjord she used to wake up to everyday. She told me that I don’t know what it’s like to grow up with the ocean and leave it. I wanted to argue, but she was right. I wanted to argue because she was wrong. I’ve always been jealous of people who are from somewhere. Her father was a sea captain. My father studied marine transportation. Is that ironic? It costs $70,600 each year for me to learn about the ocean. But I was born in the ocean. My parents met when my father was on assignment in Copenhagen. My parents don’t swim. I used to hate going to the beach. It was boys who I tried to get to look me in the eye, and once my friends got the tan they came for they would say, “Look. I’m Blacker than you.” I like my ocean cold—too warm and it feels like I’m wading in blood. When I lay back and water floods into my ears there’s no more room for anything else. I’ve been delivered. Ægir is the Norse jötunn of the sea, known for throwing elaborate parties for the gods under its surface. Are mine invited? I never knew my mother’s father, and the thought of him scares me. Would he be able to smell the brine on me, too? Know that I’ve been navigating long before this body? I told my parents that I didn’t like the ocean and that the thought of it scares me. My father cocked his head, “but you’re a child of the ocean?”