The Sea in Her Ear
By Opal Palmer Adisa
She was drowning, and doing everything she knew she shouldn’t.
She opened her mouth and tried to swallow the sea.
Its ceaseless motion rocked her body; its voice whistled and echoed all around her. Splashing and crashing, its wetness clung to her like weighted cement that attempted to pull her down. The sea had gotten hold of her and was not ready to let her loose.
She opened her mouth to shout for help and gulped more water, then thrashed about frantically, her hands flailing like slender branches forced to dance under heavy winds. She was drowning and knew her survival depended on her relaxing and allowing the buoyance and heavy saltiness of the sea to keep her afloat.
Something about the neediness of the ocean scared her, the possessive way the water draped her legs, the intimate fishy smell that engulfed her nostrils, the roar of the waves locked in the chamber of her ears, the vast emptiness of the sea, slick like oil yet colorless, invisible. God’s Child knew only a fool would try to save someone bent on drowning herself, and she was both fool and self. She knew she needed to conserve her energy, but her heart was another current in the ocean gravitating towards other channels of currents so Yemaja, the great goddess of the ocean, dragged her down and rolled her like a barrel plummeting down a steep hill. Continue reading “ISSUE 7: SEPTEMBER 2015”
By Young Lee
Old Jimmy approaches the street corner, paper grocery bags weighing in each hand, and pushes the yellow walk button with his elbow. He has on cotton yoga pants, cut off at mid-calf, partially revealing a pair of great bass swimming upshore. The old black ink faded to a watery grey against his own scaly skin. At his sleeves, his lanky, fleshy arms have long been inked with mystical birds and masks like weathered totem poles. Inspired by past winters, hunting moose, in the South East Alaskan terrain. Ancient hieroglyphics decorate his forearms to commemorate his late wife. And the markings of Buddha, the All-Seeing Eye, the Hindu Ganesha, along with Christ seated on Jimmy’s torso, front and back. Tombstones of his past.
Old Jimmy pushes up his prescription glasses with the tip of his thumb, wiggles the blood back into his fingers. He feels faint from Bikram Yoga and hunger as the amber sun presses down on him. Through the asphalt mirage across the street, Old Jimmy discerns a young man in a vintage Jim Morrison tee shirt approaching the opposite corner. He had that shirt once, a long time ago. Remembers going to their concert. As Jimmy observes him, there is something else familiar about this young man. The manner of his walk. The way he jerks his head to throw back his long wavy bangs. Sweat runs down Jimmy’s back and he rests the bags down beside him as he rubs his tired eyes and scratches an old scar on his right cheek. Despite the heat, his fingers are cold and moist. He readjusts his glasses and studies the young man’s face as he’s retrieving something from his pocket. He regards the boy’s compulsive blinking. The exact habit he had before he got cataracts in both eyes. That arched nose reminds him of his father. And the same thin lips that purse when he sniffles. Then suddenly he notices the payphone that he entered nearly forty years ago. Continue reading “ISSUE 6: JUNE 2015”