haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 3

[Return to Author List, Vol 3 ]

William M. Ramsey

The Swimmer

The boy said its eyes were open. “But they’re empty, like he’s not at home,” the boy added. He was among the group gathered, at dawn, around a pale body in the foam of the surf. Gulls hovered above in silence, then winged up the strand. It was stiff as a piling, and no one would lift it.

This is what the sea will do, coughing from chaotic depths objects that refuse to stay in it. Things carrying no message, not even a wink, spilling from the heaving surf like a fragment of some cosmic Rosetta stone.

I gazed out as if to see somewhere on the waves a hieroglyphic bird, eye, or sheaf of wheat—some ancient, coded incantation for a soul on its journey. A wind rose, the text changing into white caps. The boy galloped off making hoots.

No one’s ever home, I thought, anywhere on earth. From the pier’s railing a few tourists stared down at the frozen swimmer, and I walked off. A sand crab scuttled toward the dunes, where in a hard breeze sea oats flailed and a paper cup rolled haphazardly. Behind and before me lay the long, scalloped line of sea litter.

a sea shell
the pattern fanning
into a crack

[Return to Author List, Vol 3 ]

 


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