Psychopomp Magazine Summer 2015 - Page 25

this foreign body will allow. The webbed structure between your fingers becomes flimsier and flimsier, until it disappears entirely. Then you are clawing the water, scratching your way to the sky, to the blue beyond the blue.

Air.

The first breath is dizzying. You have never taken air this way before. The oxygen is charbroiled and abusive to your feeble, water-fed lungs. It tastes like fire crisping out your throat. The shore is thirty yards away, and beyond it, a castle with spires and turrets puncturing the azure sheet of sky. Your head drops below the crashing waves, seawater rushing to your stomach. You feel so graceless, blundering thickly through the water.

Finally, the tides carry you in, alongside the same trash your mother discards. You are so inelegant, a leaden girl-crab with shivering limbs. Your hair trails behind you, sopping with algae and debris. Your fingers find purchase in the sand, and you drag yourself to the shore, scraping your belly along granules.

When you are far enough from the water line, you lay flat on your back. White birds squeal above you, circling in curiosity. You rest a new, slim hand on your chest. You make a giant X and close your eyes.

When you finally open them, a pair of legs stands over you. They belong to a bewildered young man with blonde hair. His eyes search your naked body, perhaps with appreciation, perhaps with horror. It’s hard to tell. You open your mouth to speak, but your absent tongue does not let you. Instead, you heave a helpless sigh. You raise your arms to him, like an infant longing to be held. Of course, he cannot help himself but to bend down and embrace you. And carry you inside. Love: surely it is the very least of your worries.

Though you have legs, this human body—new and pink as a blister—is still not really yours. Upon your arrival, the women in the castle tripped over themselves to touch you, to reshape you, to make you into something more reasonable, less interstitial, less savage. Your skin itched everywhere. Your pointed fingernails delved into your

Lisa Nohner | 25