Evgeniya Dineva

Stabbing Jellyfish and Getting Away With It

Our feet sink into sand
as the ocean spits up seaweed
tied in knots impossibly hard
to grasp with our toes,
turning us into sea
beasts as well.

Amid the rubbery jewels
I notice that silvery hands
sprawl unplucked. Those
once deadly tentacles
are now just helpless threads
tangled in seaweed:

bodies torn away from hands,
finally free from poison,
no longer the fearsome creatures
from the stories I read when I was six.

You watch me in silence
while I pick up a stick
to sink into the soap-like bodies.

I’ve never done this before,
this exhilarating exploration,
so I’m confused when my eyes
collide with yours,

my smile greeted by a frown
when I pass the stick
and you shake your head no.

Later I’ll watch you
disappear down the sunlit road;
I’ll remember your disappointment
reflected in their glinting skin.

Stabbing your small stick
into dead tissue won’t hurt it.

You know you can.

About the Author

Evgeniya Dineva is the winner of a number of contemporary fiction contests held in her home country of Bulgaria. Her poems have appeared in Asian Cha: Literary Journal, Ethel, Indian Ruminations, and Gulmohur, among others. She was nominated for Best Emerging Fiction Writer by Ukitoyo Publishing and her poetry is part of the 2022 Las Positas College Literary Arts Festival in Livermore, California. She is a reader for Aster(ix) and a fellow of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation for Creative Writing in Sofia, Bulgaria.