He Dreams of Salt and Sea

May 5, 2015

Original

S. G. Larner is a denizen of sunny Brisbane, Australia, where she wrangles three children and complains about the heat. She explores the dark underbelly of the world in her short fiction and poetry. Her work has appeared in Aurealis, SQ Mag, Tincture Journal, Fictionvale, and Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013. She blogs at foregoreality.wordpress.com.

The woman knits.

Salty green-brown strands slip
between her needles,
coat her hands with brine.
Waves boom onto rocks
smeared with moonlight and
the wind tastes of mackerel.

The coverlet takes shape.
A delicate lace pattern knitted
into the scalloped edges of kelp.

She shakes it out,
examines her work
harvested from the sea—
she’s crafted
a salt-flecked blanket
to receive her baby.

Her infant son kicks beside her,
so paltry and pale.
Her breasts ache.

The woman binds her son.
Pulls the sea-grass swaddling tight,
and croons in his ear.

Dissonant, breathy sounds,
the hiss and sigh of the receding water,
strange harmonies of the ocean depths
summon blunt heads
that bob,
whiskered noses
that twitch.
Buoyed by salt dreams they
watch her.

The witch offers him up, weeping.
In the water
he wriggles.
She lets go.
The sealmothers slip beneath the surface.
Her son
is gone.

© S.G. Larner

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