Nora Byrne
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Words

Arts, Arabic, Adventures

Salt the moonlight

You told me the ocean and my blood were equals in salinity.

You know, don’t you, about units and qualifiers, precision and accuracy. I attended that lesson.

My Indian initiation stings my eyes, burns my throat. I swallow sea and crawl shriveled over jagged sand, veer from crushed cans and abandoned plastic. 

Hypotheses:

Gulfwater is exempt from the rules of the open sea.

Destined for some bastardized osmosis, I gather salt in my veins.

I misinterpret; we're Atlantic-born, raised, bound.

From Fort Williams. February 2016.

From Fort Williams. February 2016.

Here you float and waves rock you in a tepid sea-cradle. You need barely raise your legs, arms to the sides in a horizontal crucifixion. Cross your feet crossed lazily, stay submerged. 

It's the other side of the country and the sun sets before you arrive. Slough lotion from your skin; it's excessive for the moonlight. Away from incessant city glow stars appear, the sky colorblocked and clear. Full moon summits parking shelters studded with soft, intrusive fluorescents.

The air chills but the water is still warm with sunburn. You need not rush shivering from the summer sea; here you burrow and brine.

I once lounged drunk in a hotel room with a Bible out of the nightstand. I read of debauchery, of warnings and punishment. I read Genesis and found the chapter that showed I wasn’t afraid. I read and we reveled.

They throw, they yell, these boys and us few women. I show a lot of leg but what shows underwater stays under water thick with people and pollution and sodium. I can lift my knees and roll to my back again; waves bring salt to sting my throat.

There are fires on the sand, charades and shisha and singing. The beach has people pollution and prodding bits of shell, the water warmth and waves armed with stingers. We revel sober and salty in the prophets' domain. 

The fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. Qur'an 29:33. Trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali

The fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. Qur'an 29:33. Trans. Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Hypothesis:

This salt, not blood but bible. The salt of the dead, sinful salt of cities razed in every tongue.

We'll bathe in the body of the woman who lingered, dissolve in her warmth and return to the chaste city coated in her skin. She flavors the line between bodies, seasons abstinence, suspends us in the water while the moon calls us to revel and rail.

It calls us to madness and fills our blood with salt. 

Nora ArmstrongComment