:: Article

Planning an Atlantic Funeral

By Hugh Sheehy.

Eyes drawn to blue haze drag up thoughts of crest and spume, a baby horseshoe crab scurrying in a drill of seawater. How clouds come marveling to the ocean only to hurry off across it. Over maps the gazes drift out to the deep blue, stirring up dreams of bones and ghosts from carpets of seaweed. When fantasy falters, the grown take children in their arms and journey to see. Like revisiting an old crush, maybe your first, at the movies.

The Atlantic of my memory loves the moon the best. Groping for her chilly face, the waters crush the sailors and surfers piling on for a piece of their own. Remember that Odysseus, lost in strange bedrooms, met only monsters and difficulty. If you must be heedless, take up a trade, learn a form of respect, catch the jissom in your palm. Ask needless questions. Just who are the oceans sleeping with?

A gravid affair, it moves us, warps our seed and grain and stalk, lights our houses with its moods, makes overtures to our unborn kin. Under the fleshy fatness of full lunar exposure, attendant waters mute the pain, assume the mess. Brackish or Martian, waters conspire. Where bodies move, life impends.

Remember your roots. Each day, children reach their first coast. There they acknowledge what calls to them in the most intimate of beds. There’s a girl with red hair, green eyes, a disturbance of freckles under a banana-green sundress. She rushes the mineral blue, as if to cross or pierce it and lift it like a turtle to carry home. See recognition catch her high on her toes, where the sea meets the nails her mother painted red.


Hugh Sheehy is the author of The Invisibles (University of Georgia Press).

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, July 7th, 2013.