I put off watching this for twenty-nine
years because I didn’t want it to be
where I come from. Tyler as in black hair
and eyes so blue the ocean took
a wrong turn and made a home in them.
Tyler as in fierce, fiery, and anything but
floundering. Tyler as in this is who I am
named after. In bumbles Johnny Utah,
quarterback punk turned undercover
to uncover the famous ex-president heists.
He flounders across the beach like a fish
with legs. He belongs neither in the ocean
nor the land, and definitely not in an FBI
office with a badge. Tyler rides tides
around Johnny, and neither of us is swept
away. He knows she is his way in. He takes her
history, wraps it up as his own, and throws
it back at her to get close – isn’t this
how it goes? She is there to raise the stakes,
has no idea he is lying and she is smiling.
We love him anyway. They all sneak out
to the shore for a midnight surf. The sky
is kissing the ocean with her indigo lips.
They want to be swallowed
by something bigger and more beautiful
than themselves. Tyler turns to me and winks,
laughs at their inflated egos thinking the ocean
has any interest in baiting boys. I imagine
her ten years later – Johnny just a distant
daydream. She is unbothered and bronzed
in the midday sunbeams jogging toward
the ocean, smirking. Tyler owes no one
anything. We are cageless,
and we’re not waiting to be saved
anymore. I refuse to be swallowed by anything
bigger and more beautiful than me.
Bio – Tyler Hurula (she/her) is a poet based in Denver, Colorado. She is queer and polyamorous, and is a cat mom to two cats and a plethora of plants. Her poems have been published previously in Anti-Heroin Chic and Aurum Journal, and Rat’s Ass Review. Her poems feature love, polyamory, family, growing up, and being queer. Her top three values are connection, authenticity, and vulnerability; she tries to encompass these values in her writing as well as everyday life.