of friends and revelry and bounty

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She can still hear the boats, long gone now and sailed off to new harbors, but the slap of water against the ghosts of their creaking hulls does not go away, this dull smack of the waves that gently thud along the inside rim of her ears, maybe it’s just in her head, no, no, these ghosts are real, because she is standing now at the vanished port and she hears the rhythm of the water against the old boat slips that have now fallen deep beneath the surface, rotten now, fish-eaten and always worn more away by the sand and the movement of the tide upon their grain, and she can only trace their approximate location with a beady eye on a calm night, like tonight, when she has walked out to the beach, away from her empty cabin home and the creatures she shelters and feeds but does not love, along the shoreline she steps, carefully now on the dry sand, over the seaweed-covered logs, out toward the rounded bay of this rocky island, just a piece of earth pushed away from its continent, surrounded by this cold ocean. And there it is, there’s the last embedded pylon where there once was a dock, her dock, where a boat came and went with the steady regularity of her wishing it would come, and her wishing it would stay, though it never stayed, not for more than the length of the storm it brought upon her, of friends and revelry and bounty, of the warmth and fury of fires on the beach, not for longer than it took for her to follow his footsteps toward the dunes, not longer than it took for them to fill this island with the silent roar of their accord, and then the boat was gone, is gone, now taken back into this little sea, not even a proper ocean, but a mass of water deep enough and jealous enough to keep a man where he has fallen, to break up the once-sturdy moorings of those wooden docks and crush the structures of safe harbor beneath her savage ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Grant MacDonald

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About Author

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Michelle Bailat-Jones is the author of two novels, UNFURLED, (forthcoming Oct 2018, Ig Publishing) and FOG ISLAND MOUNTAINS, which won the 2013 Christopher Doheny Award from the Center for Fiction. Her translations, fiction, poetry, and criticism have appeared in various journals including the Kenyon Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Necessary Fiction, Ascent, the Atticus Review, PANK, Cerise Press, The Quarterly Conversation and the Women's Review of Books. Michelle was born in Japan, grew up in the Pacific NW and currently lives in Switzerland.

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