Walking along the edge of the ocean, it almost felt like a memory,

didn’t it? Every footstep squeezing out the water from a palm’s

worth of sand. If I went any closer, it would have washed me

away. That I’m sure of. Ah, ah, someone was kissing in the water.

Someone was making love in the water. Ah, ah, the salt in my

eyes. I threw the empty shell of a dead crab ten feet away from me

and everyone turned to look. Not at the crab. At me. All eyes

narrowed and filled with seawater. Ah, ah, the moans still rising

from the surf. I could feel it. The bleeding. Feel it in a way easy

enough to blot out for a moment, everything having just happened.

Myself having just figured out what, exactly, everything meant.

Why the eyes always strayed across my surface too long. A

searchlight. I picked up a half-open mussel and tossed it into the

riptide. Woosh, away it went. Someone was being made love to

and it wasn’t me. I wanted it to be me. The ocean reached out and

licked my blood from the ground. Pulled it out further, streaked it

like a carpet before me. There was a hole in me. Soon the pain

would come. And so I lay in wait, muscles always braced for that

first moment of burning, the sand rolling and rubbing the scabby

plateau of my sickly sores. Was it vomit or insides on that ground?

If someone on that beach had asked me anything, I would have

answered, I have never been in love. And I would have tried to look

into their eyes just so they might feel the urge to look into mine. But

the only word said was a single note of silence pouring from the heat

of their gazes. I wanted no pity. Wanted someone to kiss me. So I

picked up the broken shell of a clam, white and purple. I threw it in.

Ah, ah.