• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 01
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Use me

Use me.

To use me, first you must hear me. Put my neck-hole to your ear, not too firmly, and hold me up to the reedy wind. My dead voice will catch on the shell’s crimped edge and spiral calmly through the body-hole towards you, firming and growing in authority. And it will say: Use me.

Now wear me on your weaker arm. You’ll find a soft grip for your fingers: that’s the ridge where my neck used to rest. Hovering above the coral, lifted and dropped by the shallow waves, half-dreaming; and then the ridge would press too deeply into the big wrinkle of my throat and I’d jerk awake.

Use me on your weaker arm. Let your stronger claw be free to strike.

Crib your sick third child in me. Let him watch the rain through the body-hole; let him press his palms to the tender grooves that stitch my scales together. His head can lie in the little hollow where mine used to retreat. I’ll tell him how long to stay inside.

My meat was always yours to have. You used me well. Boiled my bones for health; joyfully shared my thighs and shoulders; gave my brains to the eldest woman, since she would be the first to return to the sea. My claws, pierced and strung, made a wedding torc. You left my shell unwashed for a month, letting the scent of my memories evaporate in peace.

Use me.

Look inside me on a moonless night. I am like a sky whose stars have winked out: edgeless, silent, breathing. I’ll meet you there.