Inspired by the heroic flowers of Hilda Doolittle’s Sea Garden poems, and especially the little Sea Violet.
We blinked away the salt that flew into our eyes, faltered in the wind that tore at our dresses. Ankle-deep in sand we stood, sand like snow, the dust of February. We stood – no, swayed – white violets, fragile, fluttering.
Between us you were the weaker one, but I soaked up your sickness until we were equally frail, except for your hands. Your hands stayed strong. Though I could not feel the cold, I felt the bones of your fingers as they grasped the bones of mine.
The sea shivered, fractured by the sun as it surged upward from the waves.
“Look at the water,” I said. “It’s your favorite color.”
You gazed at the broken waves and said, “It is.”
“Think of that color when you close your eyes,” I said. “Remember it as you fall asleep.”
You laughed then, and despite myself I caught your laughter.
“You should remember it, too,” you said. “It was never my color. It was God’s, given to both of us to share.”
“I will remember it.”
“Keep the house,” you said.
“Do you think I should?”
“I want you to.”
I offered you my shawl, but you shook your head.
“It’s warm,” you said. “Can’t you feel it?”
“It feels the same as yesterday,” I said. “And the day before that.”
With a sigh you shifted closer to me and laid your head on my shoulder. The smell of your hair was sweet and salty, like the smell of the splintered shells at our feet.
“Come,” I said. “Let’s go inside.”
“Let’s stay a little longer.”
“We will watch the sunrise again tomorrow,” I said.
“Yes,” you said. “But we will watch it from different places.”
I looked into your eyes then, and they had caught the light of the sun and they burned, edged with white fire.
© J. Grace, 2015