“The Sea Tastes Better Than the Lake” by Catherine Cowie

The Sea Tastes Better Than the Lake


After the watermelon is sliced open,
I turn my face away from steamy rainfalls,
green sodden hills and striking
orange slims of papaya.
I remember the mudslide

carried our house out to sea, & the machete
my father carried when he walked
the garden at night,

because what is anything you love
without its sharp tooth?

But I’m tired of floating between
worlds of memory and dreaming

I am a building on
Michigan Avenue growing

a knowing of this place and this people
like it’s my own wet tongue.


After I am handed a wedge
of watermelon,

I press flat the corners in my shoulders,
roll my eyes forward,
nostrils giving up salty ocean,

someone’s dog has peed in our

yard again.

My back sticks to this plastic
chair, and there are my feet,

a slash of sunlight pouring over them.

I fill
my mouth with watermelon,
stickying my hands with its juice.

I look, at the lake. I will not
say how much better the sea

is than the lake, how much
better it smells and tastes,

how blue it is, bluer,
such a beautiful, unblinking


Catherine Cowie is a 2017 Callaloo Writing Workshop graduate. Currently, she is an MFA Candidate at Pacific University. Originally from St. Lucia, Catherine now resides in Wisconsin. Her work has been published in Rock & Sling, Public Pool, Bird’s Thumb and Forklift Ohio.