B Y   S I A A R A   F R E E M A N

They will be jealous of the water. Still. Even as it rises to your nose. My mother explains this

calmly, like there aren’t bubbles coming

out of her mouth, like the shark ain’t belly up and floating from her jaws, like i never noticed
what her teeth had become since my father was killed. Had she always been

an aquarium ? a box of water, temperature regulated, organisms growing 
inside and needing, stared at, how many fingerprints has she never come clean of? If one

of my sisters is a purple octopus with enough arms and too many hearts and the other sister is
a yellow sea-horse with enough gallop but too many eyes, am I red whale? Am I enough

of everything and too many harpoons? My mother is most kind when she is quiet, sacrifice is
a shattering of glass, it is blood on your hands for getting someone out

alive. My mother sucks glass splinters from the sharks carcass, it’s dead but she does 
not want us to see it this way. The fin is mostly gone, the eyes look less dead 

when they are facing her. My mother, she is her most gentle when
there is no other choice.  The smoke is coming and her organisms are enough threatened and too 

many threatening. The purple octopus is growing extra hearts and trying to eat them all, 
the yellow seahorse is trying to salvage the castle, but now it does not have enough

eyes. The embers are eye capturing. The red whale demands she brings the shark back, demands 
she finds every shard of the box. The red whale begs the aquarium

to pull itself together. The red whale, points to the harpoons but won’t let her mother remove  

them. The red whale has flames shooting from its spout wants to know how 

they will live now? When 
will the air come back?

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

T H A T   Y O U   A R E   D R O W N I N G

I T   I S   H A R D   T O   T E L L   S O M E O N E   O N   F I R E

Siaara Freeman is 27 years of dramatic entrances and exits & from Cleveland Ohio. She is a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee, 2016 Best New Poets nominee, 2017 Bettering American Poetry nominee & a 2017 Button Chapbook Contest finalist. She is the founder of online magazine wusgood.black and an editor for Tinderbox Literary Journal. She is the current coach for the Detroit Brave New Voices team. In her spare time she is growing her afro so tall, God mistakes it for a microphone & speaks into her. You can find some of her work in Crab Fat Magazine, Rat's Ass Review, Glass, Cahoodling and Black Napkin Press, among others.