Ari Koontz: “january”


there is no kind of sadness that the ocean can’t fix

i tell myself this
after years of living among tall grasses, years of letting
that sadness build up
and i know if i just leave the house
things will be better.
if i put on my shoes
walk down to where the seagulls nest
_____on old pilings slick with algae
i will remember
how to breathe.

and even if it doesn’t work
i’ll be at the beach
where even the crabs know how
to stay
in motion and how
to stand still
isn’t that what i am trying to understand?

i used to imagine
in the bluster of pacific storms i would bloom
believed my roots belong in clay and sand
not in soil

but sometimes the truth is
i do not feel worthy of forests or floodwaters
sometimes i am just the hull of an abandoned ship
—–tucked away beneath the waves
———-sprouting anemones



Ari Koontz is a queer nonbinary artist based in Bellingham, Washington, with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Western Washington University. In poetry and prose, Ari grapples with identity, truth, and the sheer beauty of the universe, and is particularly fascinated by birds, stars, and other forms of light. Their work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Oyster River Pages, Rowan Glassworks, Wizards In Space Magazine, and Jeopardy Magazine.

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