words (c) 2012 Benjamin J Spencer
photos (c) 2007 Benjamin J Spencer
He tries to stop doing this thing.
But he is in the tide now floating out
They say you pick one life and stay within its borders
Its mannerisms and memories
Its committed parameters
Its field of options.
In this way you can find
He floats facedown now past the breakers,
staring into his future
He supposes he must learn to breathe in what is down there
In that cool expanse below
And let it calcify him
He will stick with the scuttling crayfish
And let their curling tails drag across his face
And watch his sides slicken with algaes
And let the gravel nibble his surface to chalk
In time he will be a smooth, wise head
They would call him teacher…
But who to revel?
His sainted mother GodRestHerSoul? No.
Better to float.
How many have offered him poles? Ropes and Preservers?
His preferred state is submersion,
They couldn’t have known.
Long ago at the shore
a riptide tugged at him
and his feet dragged free from flat sand
He saw them rise in front
His toes surmounting the rolling swells
Which made of his body a mere bauble rising and falling on the sea
He expelled from his lungs all of the oxygen
Every last bit.
and sank under.
In the second before blackness
Fear and attachment
kicked his nearly-dead weight up to the air
Why he tested his mortality in this way he could not say.
Only he believed that part of him
still tied to the land and the air
To be already dead
And it distressed him to need them so.
All of them
All of those scrabbling people
Fucking and killing and fucking and killing upon little scraps of
Sealed in self-nourishing layers
Snout and whiskers to navigate
Now abreast in cold wild waters,
Now hovering off of golden shorelines
A myth that the world only half-believes in.