by | Issue #5, Poetry

the wind from the ocean
makes the balcony lawn chairs
I lounge on a couch
as gray daylight stretches
through the sliding glass door

I want to sit
out there
hear the surf
taste the wind
but I can’t write
in the rain

the balcony parapet
is four feet high
from my seat
it’s only four inches
my forefinger and thumb
can pinch it
and the ocean
broken up by balusters
fits behind it
the bottom railing
rests on sand
the top railing
struggles to contain
the white crest

I’m holding the ocean
between two fingerprints

the sky cannot be
contained by one hand
I need to sandwich it
in the middle of two palms
a bolt leaves my right middle finger
pushing current into my left thumb
as lightning strikes
between my hands

seated inside a high rise
holding the ocean and sky
the enormity
feels manageable

Jason Melvin is a father, husband, grandfather, high school soccer coach, and metals processing center supervisor, who lives just north of Pittsburgh. He is a later-in-life storyteller, having first published in 2020. His work has recently appeared in A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Roi Faineant, Outcast, Bullshit Lit, Olney, Punk Noir and others. His poems were nominated for Pushcarts by Bullshit Lit and Outcast. His first chapbook, Wrong Things, will be published by Bullshit Lit in late 2022. He can be found on Twitter @Jason5Melvin, Instagram @JasonMelvin5 and on his website at