Call me salt bones stumbling from beach to beach looking for water clean enough to see my feet in. Not so dirty that I’m wondering if it’s the red or the green kind of bloom mucking it up. Not so dirty that if a shark decided I was her breakfast, I wouldn’t see it coming at least.
This salt bones still feels the sting of grainy air around her lips burning them red and then a ruddy brown like dust. This salt bones creaks as she steps out of the car and onto the driveway leading to the conch shell of a house. Its thick white walls trap sound and memory in equal measure, and they offer up refuge for all manner of bug and critter, grubbing around in the attic, frantic to escape through a hole not yet made but imagined.
Outside, non-native bamboo, non-native sausage tree, native ficus tear up the lawn with thirsty roots. Now, they reach as high as the slash pines into that grubby sky meaning storm, into layers of clouds like only Florida can hold. Three anvil tops closing in on themselves. They shepherd forward the low and heavy bags of water underneath.
Then consider the meaning of the word thrive. Thrive like those cockroaches eluding death for months until their own weight and size flip them over on their backs to slowly starve? Or thrive like red tide choking the water by stealing more oxygen than their little bodies can hold?
I’d rather thrive like the alligator floating lazy and aimless on the weak tides of the canals, my eyes just above the water line to scan the banks for morsels of food.
Magdalena Waz‘s fiction and essays have appeared in Threadcount, The Collagist, and Rabbit Catastrophe Review. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Miami University (Ohio) and her first novel, Return on Investment, was published by Fiction Attic Press in 2016. She is the fiction and non-fiction editor at Construction Magazine.
Cover Photo by m01229