The grandfather points out
the witch at the market
who comes to buy mushrooms
and stare at postcards.
She touches the sand dollar
wind chimes, retracting
her hand as the dry bodies
musically crash. She strokes
the sharp scales of fish lain
in shaved ice, tries to discern
the words caught in their gills.
She has forgotten the art of
existence, the plunges in
green froth and roilings in
sand. Each night she stalks
the interminable shoreline, never
remembering quite how to want.
The waves that once served as
a million lovers bite at her ankles
and soil her skirt. She settles
for gathering fragments of
white shell and boiling them
back in her kitchen with song.
She lays them in rows, where
they darken the tablecloth, places
them onto her slow tongue and chews.
She is taking Communion, eating a proxy,
hoping its likeness will cancel the void.
None of these things are the ocean
itself. But she has forgotten its taste.
Catherine Kyle is a Ph.D. student in English at Western Michigan University. Her writing, artwork, and graphic narratives have appeared and are forthcoming in The Rumpus, WomenArts Quarterly, Superstition Review, and elsewhere. Her hybrid-genre chapbook, “Feral Domesticity,” is forthcoming from Robocup Press this summer. You can learn more about her at http://www.catherinebaileykyle.com.
Image found here.