Yesterday my best friend said,
Everything sucks,
so she curled in on herself,
long limbs, pierced septum,
black hair, pierced navel,
tiger tattoos, contoured makeup
all melting and grinding together
until the woman I knew was gone
and in her place—
a crab.

I looked at my crab friend and said,
You’re right,
so I picked her up and walked
right into the woods, barefoot
(when you escape into the woods
shoes only get in the way),
but I could wear clothes,
so I wore a purple dress with big pockets,
and in one of them I cradled
my best friend, the crab.

A day in the woods is like a year
out in that world where everything sucks,
and as I walked, my hair grew wild,
and my heart grew wild,
and my crab friend grew more wild,
and the bears in our path saw
that we were wild like them,
and they didn’t stop us—
they just rumbled deep in their bear throats,
Hello, wild things, and good luck.

I didn’t know it when I started walking,
but the plan was to go first
through the woods
then to the ocean,
which makes sense
because crabs belong in the ocean—
in the blue, in the surf, in the sand,
and even my best friend
when she was still human
always looked like
she should be in the sun,
like she was of the sun,
like the sun and the waves lived in her,
so really, I was taking her to herself.

I don’t like the beach,
but I love my crab friend,
so for her, I endured the transition
from woods to sand,
which is too soft and too hot,
and I didn’t say,
My ankles hurt
after just a couple minutes of walking
even though they did,
but she knew anyway and she pinched me
until I took a break.

I made it to the ocean,
and I sat down in the dark wet sand,
and my crab friend crawled out of my pocket,
and she shuffled on crab legs into the water
and I thought that would be it—
the end, no more, journey over, go home,
but she was my best friend
and I missed her,
and I couldn’t turn into a crab,
and I can’t swim that well,
but I swam after her.

Today, I sank into the ocean and said,
I could stay here awhile,
so I turned into a mermaid
which wasn’t hard
because my hair and my heart
were already wild from the woods,
and my lungs turned wild enough to make gills,
and my legs turned wild enough to grow fins,
and sharks are just the bears of the ocean,
so they saw me swimming after my crab friend and said,
Hello, wild thing, and good luck.

My crab friend looked at me and said, You’re beautiful,
and I blushed, but mermaids don’t blush red—
they blush bioluminescence,
and it was so bright that it lit up the water,
and lit up the woods behind us,
and my crab friend wasn’t blinded
because she is the sun.

One day in our new world
is like a century in our old
everything-sucks-it’s-better-to-be-a-crab world,
so we grew ancient and giant
until we glowed like ocean stars,
until we were constellations and legends:
the wild mermaid and her friend
the crab.