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Category: Stories

Sharks

That night, again, the sharks that lurked here in deep waters moved under me. Obsidian fins cut pretty wakes into the surface. If I peered over the edge of my houseboat as the waves tossed it, the sharks’ jet bodies passed back and forth.

Storms and summer swells had shaken the paintings off my walls, and I hadn’t been to shore in a long time, so I had no supplies to repair the shattered glass, or fix the frames securely to the walls.

I spent dusk walking a circuit from my dry interior room out to the railings, around the edges, watching the sharks. Fascinated. Terrified.

Did they know I was there? Did they care? Did I want them to?

Clouds hid even starlight, until the world was flat black. I felt my way back inside to my bed. I left a small light burning, a talisman in case sharks were to steal into my room during the night.

I dreamt that night of fireflies, honeysuckle, pebbles gleaming in riverbeds.

Frames

Perception. It is, by definition, our entire universe. An empty frame doesn’t remain an empty frame: we perceive it as a frame, as an entity surrounding a something, and so whatever we see inside the frame becomes a picture. Even if the picture shifts as we move.

“Look at that sunset. It looks like a painting. It doesn’t look real.” That’s highest praise from a modern human. We’re so used to reframing, accentuating, exaggerating, finding the extremes. When nature serves up an extreme for us, we marvel.

It’s difficult to remain present with those moments. We pop out of focus; maybe we reach for a camera, or we lament the transience of the moment. By mourning the moment too soon, we lose it entirely.

In truth, the moment does have a lifespan within us. Or rather, our experience of the moment has a lifespan. Each moment is a tiny chisel, chipping a groove into our malleable brain matter. Our experience of each moment contributes to the circuit diagram of our neurons, helping shape our future experience.

Find: The Sixth Letter

My puzzle, my peace, my empty cup,

I write this on your skin with my tongue. Your body is solid as concrete under my hands, and now when I ask you a question, you answer me. Grief and doubt opened the path to this moment, my cheek on your chest, our pulses syncopating.

You’d been seeking me, which I should’ve known but feared to believe. I was so busy searching that I almost didn’t see you, and you called my name and shocked me into stillness. I thought I had yet to cross plains of sulfur to find you, but there you were. You held me so close, so long, that our spleens became fast friends. In that moment I swam another sea, the terrible ocean that filled my lungs when I thought I might ever lose you again, ever again lose you from my arms.

And of course I will lose you again. Won’t I. Every day I will lose you and find you, find you and lose you. And if we orbit each other long enough, still one of us will lose the other into the Void. So goes the sad, fierce joy of existence.

For today, it is enough to lock my fingers into your hair and press my body against yours until our nerves entangle. It is enough to tease and talk and work and worry and fuck and find, and find, and find, and find, and find.

Start here: The First Letter

Find: The Fifth Letter

My journey, my ghost, my unheard scream,

I write this on a piece of skin with a charred stub of bone. I am sitting beside the Gates of Hell. The gargoyles pinch and taunt, distracting me. Distant shrieks evoke spiders, alleys, approaching footsteps.

I was not afraid to come for you. Until now.

Soon I will tighten the laces of my boots and swallow the last of my water. Soon I will stand beneath the misshapen Gates of Hell and brace my soul against its own fear. Am I your seraph, your scar, your daemon lover? Soon I will set forth across the raw landscape that separates us, hoping a chasm will swallow me and spare me this passage. Are you my apple, my trespass, my true salvation?

A leering demon has offered to carry this letter to you, but I declined. No more emissaries. I will bring these words to you myself, and you will answer me.

Are you ready for me to come to you?
Are you ready for me?
Are you ready?
Are you?

The Sixth Letter »

Find: The Fourth Letter

My dristi, my rhythm, my whispered koan,

I write this on parchment blessed by a mischievous guru, standing in a bell tower in the Himalayas. The planet drops away on every side. Joy unfurls in my belly, a wild vertigo. Beneath the wind, I hear the drone of monks chanting the oneness of the universe. The world is alive and you are you and time flows again, bearing me to my rightful place.

I have released everything I once owned. Tomorrow I will descend the mountains, descend as far as I must, until I find you.

Are you ready for me? Have you forgotten me? It doesn’t matter. Am I not your priestess, your cup, your steady bliss? Surely you feel my breath in your ear, my thighs on your hips. Already I taste your name on my tongue. The bitter reality of you. Are you not my heron, my mist, my morning tea?

A golden eagle is rising towards me on a draft; she will carry this missive on to you. I feel your rightness in my veins, and it makes me strong.

The Fifth Letter »