• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 12
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He Who Holds Back the Sea

They never touch my feet, the waves. We have reached an understanding.

And yet sometimes the white tips of fingers will come close. I shiver at the near-kiss, though it is warm and I am old and have long resisted the temptation of her lips.

When the sun is up, I lie on the beach and stare up at the blue sky, watching the birds watch me. They caw in delight as they dart and dive along the invisible currents of air. These yellow-beaked gulls bring me gifts: pearl-pink shells, crabs, oysters. They know.

There was a time when men and women arrived with offerings in palms and psalms on tongues. They sang for me, for the one who holds back the surrounding sea.

On long nights when the moon is full and high, I can see her shining eyes in the silvered water, so wide and wonderful I can feel the draw of those pools of light.

What a fool lies there, endlessly holding back the endless waves. This is what men say, now that memory and mystery is no more. I cannot blame them, brief things.

Sea-sick, lonely, I lift shells to my ears and listen for her voice.