Down to the Sea in Digressions

What does one do about fever dreams without the fever?

The Dagger

The dagger would slide across the deck of the ship as it floated between the houses. I would only watch it, gleaming like bone, until it sailed out into the blue.

The ship was terribly crowded at first, people stem to stern, not a single one I even recognized. I moved unseen amongst them, my suit jacket irreverently open as I searched for the dagger.

The Captain’s quarters lay open, the door of brass and ebony…surely he must have the dagger. I was greatly relieved at the prospect.

Within the octagonal room, I found nothing but shattered statues, all talking at once. I tried to sort the voices as I examined the cold stone parts…hands, thighs, hearts, minds all jumbled together, the same but different, finally playing Yorick with one especially chatty head. They all end up here in the end, it explained, each from their own path, each by their own hammer. They all end up here, despite nuances. Each identically unique, each consistently diverse. They all end up here.

I forgot the dagger, I believe, and returned to the deck, not so many people there then. A woman stood with two men, she turned to me, blonde hair and blue lips. She leaned close, as if to tell me a secret the men were not to hear, and whispered…We are not who you think we are.

I could smell warm salt on her skin. But I have no idea who you are, I whispered back.

She stroked her cheek against mine and breathed….Exactly.

I kissed her suddenly, her lips tasted of lip gloss and old books and red wine and I hoped she would be my death one day.

She pushed me away, the kiss broken, the dagger in her hand. She dropped it to the deck like the tolling of an iron bell. I scrambled for it but kicked it in my haste like a keystone cop, sending it sliding across the deck and over the side into the motionless water between the houses.

It plummeted from view and I chased after it in a panic, the hands of the woman, the hands of the men, the hands of all of them on my back, on my shoulders…did they pull or did they push? Did it matter?

I went after the dagger, down and down and down between the houses.

I think I am still down there.


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