Read: J.Gray

Her Hands Were of Flint and Tinder

And there the island stands

In defiance of the salt god

who is peppered with our unending and unwanted gifts.

Volcanic rock with a scalp soft for roots

that birth homes for many and fuel for few.

The shore is rocky and the distance great,

but the prize of fruit and fuel may match the journey.

A woman with wild tales and rambling hair wades in.

She knows there are sharks, an undertow, and jellyfish. She smiles

and dives over a cresting wave.

The salt god responds and the waves flex

but the woman knows to kick, stroke, breathe.

The ocean is vast and tireless.

She fights slow and smart

and will not stop

for the shore is aflame

and the island her only salvation.


The Shapeless Storm

The downpour is upon the strangers

through the streets they sprint

testing every door until one gives.

A bar—only spirits with an old man

whose shaky wrists grip a shotgun.

They wipe their faces and shake their hands.

An errant drop,

glistening with sapphire, ruby and emerald

flies high on to the window

that separates them from the torrents

washing everything away.

All three stand and stare

at the peculiar drop

and its backdrop of chaos.

It begins to slide, slow at first

leaving a trail in which the strangers see

reflections of silence and escape.

The barman bites down

thunder masks the report and his tumble.

Lightning shatters the window

the strangers fall together with glass in their eyes

as the pale blue dot

rejoins the shapeless storm.