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"Whitecaps" by Meg Tuite

Blasted by winds of silent rage, this would be nothing less than a tsunami. No trees left standing. The Northeastern constricted surrounding villages. Long as I could remember, this violent turbulence touched down and tore up the same fragmented single-wide body I cowered within. Never thought to move. Kept rebuilding the same ravaged landscape into something salvageable until the next cyclone hit. Flies never gave notice before skies darkened and vagrant clouds compressed into thin lips of the horizon. Stood ground as the torsion of organs wrenched themselves into opposing forces of cell migration between malignant or benign, dwelling or scrap metal.


“Got no gust, girl. You’re nothing but a sprinkler of Moms, squalling and nipping. Got no misgivings about a downpour when I can cover myself with the windbreaker of you. Rambling your skinny ass around my boys with some kind of buoyancy. What the hell is that shitstorm called? Dad’s wheezing under Mom’s endless torrent of shackles. You trying to swallow me up? Don’t get all drizzly on me now. I got lightning beating thunder under this skin.”


My mouth wrenched open the same shoddy door that stuck. Air was thick and sinister quiet. Why don’t assholes get out of hurricane alley? We got no time for that shit. Each damn year everything bleeds over this skeletal territory, only to become obliterated, as if we don’t know what’s downwind. We stay, we go. More threatening to settle over a stretch of open terrain with no history, no decay. Smack of waves on boulders one listens to day after day without registering, and yet without it there would be an absence of potency.

The man traced the lines of my face with a gun. My neck wedded itself to the contours of his guillotine archway of compressed fingers. He bulged from his recliner while groundswells sprayed from his pores. My fists were two restraining orders as I sunk to my knees. Fingers slid along the sides of my twitching cheeks. I dropped my head in his lap.

The neighborhood was roiling. “How could I ever live without you?” I asked.


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