Photo by Tim Mossholder

this is a blank spot
on a map of blank spots
labeled, “here there be”

the world serpent
who holds back the sea
encircles you like a crater rim

and offers around the tail in his mouth
to send you on your way
quickly and painlessly
if ever you long for home.

this is a sea of such creatures
who were there in the garden
of the beginning of time
and promise to be there
for the end of the gods.

the world misses being back
in that garden when
it was just one of us and a voice

our insides coiled like eels.
the ouroboros takes his tail out
to bite you on the heel
and all is washed away in the waters.

the only shells that make up this shore
are the unmanned explorers
that the curious break open to find what’s inside

and the spacesuits,
and the things within the suits holding back
floods of water, broken open to find
nothing inside.

don’t worry about the way things used to be.
after all, there’s nothing sad about an empty shell.

put your ear close to the mouths of the dead
and you can hear the ocean.

Become a patron at Patreon!
Josh Pearce
Josh Pearce is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area with stories and poetry in Analog, Asimov’s, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Cast of Wonders, Clarkesworld, IGMS, and Nature. He currently works as an assistant editor and film reviewer at Locus magazine and lives in California with his wife and sons. Find him on Twitter: @fictionaljosh or at One time, Ken Jennings signed his chest.