RETURN TO WATERY LIFE/ JAMES CLAFFEY

Remember that day you caught the sun? When you crested the first of the waves my heart fell as the sleek seal’s head disappeared under the swell and did not return. On land I had no idea of the secret harbored inside you, the birthright of Neptune, Poseidon—fish-gods both. Slope of sun across streaked red sky, the trajectory traced in letters too large for the eye to comprehend. The time you stared through the pinhole at the sun, seared a memory to take beneath the water. Lighthouses cast steady beams on the rocks beneath where we met. Somehow the pelt didn’t suit you, and that desire to land on shore became too much. Crushed sand dollars decorated your hair the first time we danced at the foot of the lighthouse. Turn and turn again, the quitting sun splashing fire across the sky—we moved in anti-clockwise circles—land, sea, and land again. The sun caught the shimmer of trapped quartz in your hair, blinding flash, terrifying premonition of a return to a watery life. On the edge of the rocks the seals collected in pairs, salt-skinned and apart.

Website: http://www.jamesclaffey.com

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