• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 11
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I lay my head on the pillow,
prepare to stare into darkness.
But I'm asleep in moments,
swept away on a tide of exhaustion.
Dreams bubble up around me,
the exhalations of whales tumbling me
in the ocean's flume, my ears full of their song.
Moonlight filters through gaps in the clouds;
my skin is patterned with shades of mackerel,
glossy and sparkling with salt crystals.

Sometime in the small hours
I wash up on an island's shore.
The beach is sandy, the grains fine and warm,
still carrying the heat of the day.
Beyond the dunes the skyline is tropical,
date-laden palms edging verdant forest.

A tiger steps out from the shadows,
from the tangle of vine and bourgonvillea,
and pads down to a freshwater stream.
He drinks deeply, lifting his head as he swallows.
His approach is silent. He sniffs my face
in the instant before he stretches out at my side,
his whiskers wetting my cheek,
his breath mingling the scent
of earth and blood.