Driftwood

by Ali Carrington

I kick with my feet. They keep us afloat. Below us somewhere is earth, to the left and right. Behind us and in front. Somewhere there is dry land.

We kick into nothing. A thick, ever moving nothing which drenches us, dries us. Leaves us parched. Days of powerful sunshine burn and blister, though the light is a friend after the nights of inky, blinking skies and the blackness beneath. On days when there is rain, we open our mouths and drink beyond wanting. We take in as much as we can, there may be no more for a while.

Driftwood floats on by, pieces bob tentatively close but out of fingers reach. Others power directly at us on waves but shatter on impact. These fragile moments of hope, a wish for a time without kicking, pass us by.

We do not go down. We keep our heads above the tide. Waves wash over us, pull at us and try to divide us, but your hand stays wrapped around my wrist. My arm about your neck. We do not drown. Sometimes you have your arm around me, then we switch and conserve energy.

We keep our eyes open, scanning and screening for something to help us up. We dream of a raft, a life boat, a fishing vessel off course. Of a rope ladder dangling from a ship’s deck. Voices to call to us, and hands pull us up.

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