Prose

Below are some excerpts from my creative non-fiction manuscript, for which I am seeking a publisher:

Autobiography of a Sea Creature

— Coming Home to my Body after Infant Surgery

“It was shady those early mornings, the sun still below the Highlands, or ridge, across the river and low tide. I searched for something valuable among the necklaces of seaweed that traced the retreating arcs of high tide. Lots of small, clear blobs of jellyfish. Mussel shells, purple-edged. The stranded horseshoe crabs that I threw back into the sea. They could have actually walked back themselves but were slow, and I wanted to protect them from bathers at Sandlass’ Beach Club who would soon cover the beach with colorful towels and umbrellas. People were cruel to the most vulnerable.”

“My mother used to tell me that back in the old days, dead babies were not buried in their own plots but placed in caskets with anonymous adults. I imagined a dead baby lying on the chest of a corpse and oddly sensed the weight of this baby on my chest each night before bed, my breath shallow. I had come to think of it as a giant moth wrapped up, like a mummy, as though a spider had seized her–a dead baby wound round in bandages, bound by tubes like spaghetti red with tomato sauce, roping in and out of every opening like worms. You looked like an alien being, a creature from outer space–my mother’s words, the way she describe me hundreds of times during my life. Not even a bay, dead or alive.”

“I was always attracted to the darkest part of the ocean–the underwater trenches where creatures lived without light under tons of pressure. A place where ancient armored fish called coelacanths still swam; where only submersibles or underwater cameras ventured; where creatures made their own light. Inaccessible places where sound waves sent back information, and undersea fissures spewed magma, the water bubbling and chaotic as molten rock met freezing water. Life lives in the darkest, coldest places, miles below the surface in unimaginable conditions. I was fascinated by that place called the abyss.”

“. . . immobility defines it. Coral cannot run from predators. Parrot fish nibble on it and divers break off hunts, yet the coral can do nothing. In order to eat, they must stay put. So much of the lives of coral, it seemed to me, was up to chance. In a similar way, my stomach defined my limitations. I did not choose to have a dysfunctional stomach. In order to digest food and survive, surgery was a must. It was what happened to me. I was what happened to me.”