On the day his mother dies:
Black grains of sand snag the rugs and scratch the tops of his feet. They grind between his molars. Dry sea grass inflames his bare legs. It whips through, pulled from the ground by relentless gusts, capable of splicing even one grain of sand. He is left with a collage of paper cuts across his skin. He can see his veins throbbing underneath. He has to leave, to go somewhere beyond this. Giving up, he walks through the dry, low tide as the storm finally moves out. The damp air is slowing down. It makes him feel unclean. Salt grease stuck to his hair. He wonders: Have I done something wrong?
The foghorns are blowing out the steamers who have come too close to shore. The park may close early this year. It was a bad season for dogfish. The island is moving further out, floating into a black line scraped out between the ocean and the sky. M can see where the currents are taking them. They are the last rock before the horizon. Alone now, he will be pushed all the way across to another side.
With her last words, she said to him, The skin we wear is all we have.
Loie Rawding is a writer and mixed media artist who grew up on the coast of Maine. She received her MFA from the University of Colorado where she completed her first hybrid novel, Tight Little Vocal Cords. Her work has been internationally recognized in SAND: Berlin's English Literary Journal, The Wanderer, Anamesa, The Thought Erotic, Map Literary, and Lemon Hound, among others. Presently, Loie lives in Nashville, Tennessee and is a Teaching Artist with The Porch Writers Collective. You can find her at www.loierawding.com.
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