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She was resurrected in the back of her father’s pick-up truck.
When she was rescued, did she think it was just another wave?
I can picture her lungs now; paper bags gasping for air,saving their
strength for their desired shriek, collapsed inside the undertow.
When she finally came to shore, languid and slack in her savior’s arms,
her neck as weak as a newborn’s, who did she think was carrying her to life?
Could she recognize the strength, or did she think it was some labyrinthine
force of nature, taking her to some other dimension?
Did she even care?
Her jaw loose, lips lazy and numb,
vicious black sugar trickled down her chin
drip by drip to her collarbone.
There she lay on the canvassed trunk;
a body covered in butterfly shells and Santa Monica sand.
her skin like softened petals;
a swollen blossom for a mouth.
Syrup was smeared all over her,
dragged around her body like molten vines.
The man plucked off the coquinas one by one,
their stubborn shells leaving scattered outlines
of red ovals across her skin.
A murky shade of gray and violet coated the sky;
her skin appearing a parallel shade of ivory.
The air passed around a peaceful gloom,
misty and wet; unaware of tragedy.
Where even she could barely hear it, a distant humming echoed
inside her head. This was the melody that could only emerge
from the phantasmagorical playground that is the subconscious.
The disquieting wonders and REM rehearsals that are something
like the universe’s collection of evaporated supernovae; that
incomparable explosion of unfathomable colors and sounds.
Dreamland, not quite death;
was interrupted by a slow but strong inhale, then
a series of violent coughs.
Breathe, baby, breathe.
Please, just breathe.
Her face was still unpainted and pale,
the color of milk and pearls.
A rush of blood then began to permeate her cheeks,
like pink roses blooming under glass.
The perfect shade of blush.
An ambulance was on its way,
Its ethereal banshee wail coming closer by the second.
Hearing it this time was different; sirens usually passed
by quickly in the background, someone else’s emergency.
Now that the threat was setting in, the adrenaline rush was triggered.
The girl didn’t make a fuss; she didn’t know how.
No one told her how leaden her limbs would feel once she could
breathe again, how heavy her head would become. How she would
feel the salt water burning in her lungs but still be too cold
to feel anything else. How she’d want her solace of darkness back,
anything but the harsh white lights that would hover above her now.
She wanted unabashed oblivion, for the ocean to swallow her whole;
not this penetrating brightness that would disguise itself as safety.
Safety is being strapped down to an ambulance bed
while soaring through traffic. Safety is clean white
sheets and carefully administered IVs. Safety is your
vitals and heart rate on a screen
The sand shifts, the sun sets.
How long until she’s back again?
How long until she once again seeks
refuge in the beckoning darkness of the ocean?
Is safety being able to come home?
Or being able to run away?
It took an hour to unravel the seaweed;
mineral spirits and toothpaste cleaned
up the tar on her feet.