3 parts

It’s not enough to make it through the day

3 parts
Photo by Jude Infantini / Unsplash

by Lilian McCarthy


It’s not enough to walk
I need to explode and taste every leaf
Every scoop of soil, every worm
It’s not enough to make it through the day
I need to sprint until my throat bleeds
Dew will be my moisturizer
Finally, again
It’s not enough to rest
I need to melt, flesh glacier,
Into the crunchy sand


Delicate longing, hidden, secret;
A sand dollar buried beneath caramel foam,
A kiss of sea lettuce dancing on numbing ankles;
Heart beats shaped like ascophyllum nodosum
While I wait to see you.
Years of waiting - I tell myself it’s a trial
Like everything else, a test
Of strength. The universe forcing me
To pull the sword from the rock
To somehow become worthy of one who
Sees me as a floundering child.
Drowning, perhaps, finally. Yes.


What I’ve lost,
Touch – what love has meant
What I used to love.
I no longer shiver under her gaze -
I’m a cool pebble in the tide,
Solid but amoebic,
Internal - alone

Lilian McCarthy (she/they) is a disabled, queer, nonbinary woman who lives in Boston, MA and Dublin, Ireland. She is a Masters candidate in Comparative Literature at Trinity College Dublin. She enjoys fabric arts, painting, playing with animals, writing, and translating French and Italian work.