It is quiet

It is quiet in the beginning.
Salt hangs on the air
and makes it thick.
Somewhere, a lone gull
rides the tide out to sea while
a long-haired man sighs
under the weight of sleep,
turns on his pillow
and dreams of his wife
picking roses.
The clouds gather themselves
into soft mountains over the grey field
of dawn,
swell with breath, swell
with the promise of birds,
fold over and grow
higher still.

Without warning, the fire.
Not a soft glow, but a blaze
hungry for everything—the man
the gull, the soft flesh
of their dreams.
The sun shoulders the horizon,
lifts the sky from the water
and for the longest moment of every day
the flames swallow everything.
In the wide heat
the clouds are extinguished
and it is as if they were never there
at all.

It is true that nothing burns forever.
Carefully, the morning
raises its head,
begins again.
The waves assemble
one by one
one after another
in long lines down the beach
nearly as long as the day itself.
The air fills
with the shrill call of sandpipers
pulling their breakfast from the ground
with stout bills;
with the silver rustle of women
shaking the night
from their hair;
with the first metal cough
of cars turning on
tires spitting dust.

Soon enough
the sounds overlap like translucent scales
and they are carried on the wind
past dunes and dry grasses
to the hills
where rocks wear their faces like old men.
Soon enough, no one remembers
the towering flames of morning
the hot breath at their shuttered windows.
Soon enough
the afternoon stretches its coiled muscle
and settles into its skin like a seed
in its paper cocoon
dangling there like some secret
while the sea goes to work
on the soft edge of the earth.

And it goes on like this.

And the surf rushes the shore
even after the sun has gone,
and the sand,
cool and wet below the hedgerows of seaweed
and perfect crescent moon shells, knows
that nothing has changed
and everything is different
and there is a man with long black hair
whose wife is barefoot in their garden
and the breath that fills them both is the same
breath that fills the clouds,
only the man and the woman cannot be
extinguished every morning
when the sky turns to fire
and burns everything
but what is held between them.

— Jessica Roth

It is quiet, but not for long.

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2 Responses to It is quiet

  1. jro says:

    Brother!?! <3

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