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She tastes bitter to me, the sea, and while it may be bittersweet, like brittle Dutch chocolate, immediacy throttles me with a cold rush down my throat –foam and seawater. I have fallen into the sea.

Again, she says, Again.
Soon, I say, and drift away…

I see the light from a distant vessel: a burning ember against a jet-black sky. I’d swear someone was smoking on a far-off ship, or could it be a coal eating freighter casting this fickle light toward me? I see wisps of smoke from this light, slinking low on the horizon like clouds from a secret war-time cigarette. A man crouches on deck with his hand over his flame stick treat. He smokes half within himself, inside his trench coat, to prevent the ember from becoming a target for the buzzing vulture war planes. And a sigh, I hear a sigh. Is it the man enjoying the nicotine buzz – a secret – made twice as intoxicating by the danger?

I wonder how long I will be able to float? I wonder how long I’ll last?

I imagine that the sea sings to me. My own boat is gone now, out of sight at least and I have only the sound of a swirling sea. I am inside the conch – waves – tide – grip of the sea. She’s as solid as the mountains to the west and I know, eventually, I will drift to the bottom, where another chain of mountains begins.

My pockets are empty by choice. Still, I reach for them in the dark, hoping to pull out something from my old world.

I relish the soft sounds the ocean makes between words, or is it her? My favorite song plays on the radio and she sings along. I listen carefully. Between verses you can hear the sound of her drawing breath and then crash, a wave breaks, her song resumes and quiet again. Between is an inward sigh that sucks the air thin; the ocean floor is restless tonight.

They will not find me out here. In the morning they’ll find the boat: a can of beans opened by the burners, unlit, and a bottle of wine, half-empty in the sink. I have made the arrangements to be remembered as an accident, an adventurer till the end.

Above me somewhere a seagull circle; I am unsure of its flight pattern, but the darkness connects us by sound. For all my knowledge, it could be flying in odd, square shapes above me, or abstract amoebae-like patterns. I know this gull by sound. It has a coo to accompany the patter of wings and I think it prefers Rorschach ink blot designs, borrowing ideas from my mind like a stolen cookie-cutter. There is a blind gull above me somewhere, moving with its own shepherd before it --- tip-tip- tapping at the darkness with a dull-gray retractable cane.

I try to swim on my back for a while, so that I can look up and watch the points of darkness between stars. My eyes have opened with an extraordinary sense of vision. I see shades of black and deepest blue. There is a palate of blends – anti-colors – to watch in the evening sky, for everyone has seen the contrast of shadow and light on the east side of a mountain –near dusk – when the sun sets; and so it is the same for me as I swim on my back. There is a shadow within the constellation Virgo, a delicious color. I am reminded that a shadow is not the absence of light, but only a thin opaque glove fitted over the fingers of the sun.

Some errant currents sweeps through me and I am suddenly very cold. The water has a mind and a life of its own. It is far more than a basis for life; it is life, in its ever changing mold. And now I am victim to a surge of cold water hunting for warm blooded prey. I swim forward until I meet water almost hot to the touch. I worry for a moment; has the freighter released some chemical spill – flammable perhaps – and where will the sailor throw his cigarette when he is done? And I worry about feuding seas – these two liquid leviathans, hot and cold, until I find her sea. The one I have chosen to join. My fears of burning fade away. I swim towards the warm current. I am reassured. I put my head beneath the surface. I have found her by swimming freestyle in the dark – drifting, and feeling for clues written in Braille on passing minnows.

It is raining now. White flashes and close-trailing thunder crashes. I have never felt a storm from this bed before. I take the ocean by the hand and blow bubbles of spit into the air. I entertain the sea, rubbing her with a slow ease to fury.

Soon, I say, soon.

I see the wet flip of her hair, trailing down my body and I am paralyzed. I cannot swim, I cannot move, I cannot sleep, I cannot breathe.

How can I describe the luxury of a thousand soft jellyfish stings, and a slick pinkish-gray eel moving around me? The sea makes me shake and shudder, gripping.

Now? she asks, or is it a demand?

And I nod, moving closer.

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The following comments are for "Tara"
by gogolism

Gogolism: Deluscious
Yummy. I used a linen napkin on the corners of my mouth after I devoured this. I love your writing. I have lurked behind your other work, and now it is time to go deeper. Keep it up.


( Posted by: GibsonGirl [Member] On: January 2, 2005 )

And Just as Addictive
gogolism~ My God, this is good. Rich, dreamlike, haunting. Bitter yet intoxicating as the dark chocolate, cigarettes and red wine you mention. Decadent work to be sure.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: January 2, 2005 )

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