Saturday, September 22, 2007


Before we could break for the dock, the sprinklers burst. My back to the cedar shingles, I shimmied to the redbrick steps that led to the water, now dark save for a spat of light thrown by the moon’s wane. They came behind me and we found the planks of the dock beneath us. We walked to the end. Plastic-capped clusters of pilings lined the dock and we made bets about the first man to climb one, and could he dive without an ostrich-head plunge into the shallow water below.
We stripped. The sprinklers sputtered on the lawn above us, and the house, backlit by headlights, loomed ominous. I turned my back to it, jumped greedily into the water. It was not cold and my toes dug into the sand under there. I came up. Blew my nose into the water. There was an eruption to my left, and the tall man with red hair and a blue-bird on each forearm came to the surface. I yelped in surprise and we laughed, swam from each other, past the pilings.
We climbed out, averted our eyes, dove off the low dock. It was this that made me alive. And showed me how I’m not, often. I want pain. Or pleasure. Really I just want, because I’m all out of small talk. Ambivalence owns me. I make such great efforts to hide any eagerness I might feel that I do not know what I was once eager for.
So I fall, again, into the water. I fear for sharks swept into the bay with the tide, which clings now, to the high white water mark on the pilings. Under the moon I make out, barely, the birds that hover the fishnets strung between pilings across the bay. They swoop. Beaks open. Then, beaks full. Then, perched again on those pilings, wrestling to swallow.
Like the snake in the seagrass the other day. The gardener snake, how had only the toads leg in it’s mouth, when we found it. How the toad struggled and flopped. How the snake unhinged its jaw. Deliberately, without angst or pause, pulled and there was no enmity between them. The toad, he puffed up, and with flat black eyes, unimpressed, gave in to his view of the sand and reeds and the sloppy grins of us as we suckled excitement.
When we looked again, just a webbed foot in that wide, wide mouth.

So I gave myself up to the mouth of the sea, in the dark under the moon.