Go Under

Everything wounded comes back to the place where it first broke open. All things come back to where they hit rocks and tore themselves apart, casting splinters into foam, air spilling into space and the ocean bleeding in. If this thing you’ve built was a ship, you’d patch it with tar and limbs. If a breached wall, you could send men in to sandbag it, to fill it with spit and furious words and blood and arms but still they’d keep on coming.

You know that there’s a tide coming in; some heavy thing sung in by the moon or the stars or some other dumb metaphor. You remember that there were times when you were young, when you walked into the water, your arms cast wide, imagining that you could hold back the waves. And that there was a time you gave up trying. The year everything turned to glass in your hands. That summer. In that ocean. When you learned at last that sometimes getting through means getting out of the way. Or holding your breath and going under. Fingers digging in the sand. Lungs full to bursting. The world a roar above.

Now here you are. Holding on. Watching yourself watching everybody else. Watching yourself looking up in fractals. Imagining the strange terrain of memory as though it were anything more than another kind of map. Here a schoolyard split lip. There your first broken heart. Beyond those mountains the place where the dead are buried. There, in the ocean, the objet petit a and you.

And you know you’ll be okay. You know that this is how things go. You know that tonight in the space between the grey you’ll find yourself going back to the water and staring into the black. Standing at the ocean’s edge, calling to the lost and mossy bones of something long ago gone under. Fingers digging in. Lungs full to bursting. The world a roar above.

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