Let me tell you what the mystery is – that a life can hold both, all.
That her life can hold the person who sat in a flimsy plastic chair,
watched a volcano glowing red, a line of lava trickling down and ate
the sweetest pineapple and drank cheap fruity alcohol from a glass bottle.
How that person had no idea what it would mean to rise again
and again into the night, into another’s cries, tumble through the day
on caffeine and some odd sense of gratitude. How she became a river,
never stopping or moving backwards and when she didn’t
want to rush, she tried to be still and somehow the same. A distillation.
I don’t understand how I got here. It was not without intention, but reminds me
of driving to the beach in Michigan – the colorful roadside fruit stands,
dunes and the bugs with their long, frail legs in the sand, a tough grass
I hadn’t seen before – a body of water that felt familiar, like the ocean,
but not – the park ranger who told us he liked to watch
from the top of the dunes, at the solstice, the witches gather
to dance naked along the water’s edge. Years later, one late night
on the Georgia coast, my husband and I took flashlights and searched
for ghost crabs – translucent and nocturnal. They were everywhere, scuttling
over the sand. We filled up buckets, then let them go back to the dark beach.
What I mean is there is so much left to see – even in the darkness, you hear it –
the waves crashing in as if to take you
As if to say you could have it all back – shaving your legs
on a balcony in Amalfi, the fragrance of lemon trees and the sea,
but you know it’s a lie – the place is there but the girl is a ghost
crab on the beach, scurrying, and the girl is a coconut
busted and baking on the sand, the ocean meeting the shore
and frothing its hush. The girl is an open mouth,
and she sings the whole scene
as she rocks her baby to bed.
Rebekah Denison Hewitt lives outside of Madison, Wisconsin with her family. She works as a librarian and is an assistant editor at Orison Books. Her work has appeared recently in The Rumpus, Gulf Stream, and Narrative. You can connect with her at www.rebekahdenisonhewitt.com.