I stand on the edge of an island that is not my own. Grey water meets grey sky and together they wade toward my palms. “Nobody seems real until they are in need of a little saving,” whistles the wind, whipping hair in knots around my neck. If I could hold my breath I’d sleep where sea meets mountain’s crest.
Seagulls sing songs in the sky, sad songs of calling and searching for “why”. My mom, three-thousand miles to the west, sits in her chair, feet under her desk, crying, her hands clasped to her chest because she found the flaw in the clock that chases itself. He watches me undress. Stop. I am a builder. Walls built up, walls brought down. Boy sitting in the chair looking me over like some kind of lost and found; sifting through rough pieces he’d been too far away to see. I’m a literature girl, count the characters in me.
Rise and fall.
Standing on this island I see it all — tides sent out by the cycling moon and bare chests lifting and dropping beneath morning’s sun dance. Our children’s free legs kicking fragile bodies into the sky — grandfathers giving one push at a time. Somebody is waving far away, wild arms in a fury. “Hello, out there!” I say.
Looking glass reflection of the sea — that person waving is me. I’m not waving, I’m sinking, taking on water, what was I thinking? I wanted to be real, I want to be human, stop naming emotions you haven’t been feeling.
I stand on this island one thousand feet above, clouds in my ears rush out through my lungs. The thin atmosphere teaches a lesson whistling, “self preserving”, never speaking but always yearning, for the oxygen to not be so sparse, for the unsent letters to be signed and shipped, the last number dialed and the call received, for the panic in me to let things be, for this hole to set me god damn free.
Rise and fall and reset.