Seaside Gothic

Fiction | Poetry | Nonfiction

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Littoral States

Littoral States by Julia Ruth Smith

A storm of industrial terror, running dockside with sound glued on, watching tankers roll, not as fraught as he is. A carbon torch growls with regret; there used to be vibrance and ill-advised teen dreams.

He keeps pounding with strong legs. He knows what he’s done; summer won’t help it. She’s forgetting, regretting they ever collided.

Her dog leads on wide beaches; she’s laughing in pieces; not really funny but she feels it erupting, splashing the surf with inadapt sneakers. A white bird cuts sky; she can’t see it bleeding, that’s not how she’s feeling.

She finds a shell with a hole but she’s not holding on; the glass jar is full, the string has an end. It feels like new days, smells like tomorrow, someone asks where she’s going; she answers, here.

He sweats in dark corners; the groovy kids ask him what’s up.  Feeling the heat, there’s a downside to freedom, wrapping around him; spritzers and boogy are bringing him down, his friends to a point; that point is her, where he arrives at three in the morning, near grieving, no mirror to ease a stark dawning.

He senses her smiling over the dunes, not mocking; that’s not what she’s for; a reckoning, an asking for more, if life’s a bitch, she was his sure.

Twirling in green, frothy waves for sleeves; no slowing her down, an explosion of moonlight absorbed through the ages, deflecting the dull, unworthy, the blind.

He saw her so well, wore her badly; she feels him pining, moves away from defining an ache that is growing. Techno time in skinny moments, leaves her unspent and helpless; swaying home she is bolder, ignoring the signs with the rising day, unable to counter the bleak and the lonely.

That’s his downfall, his endless upset.