blue sundress, w/spaghetti straps

having boarded with

the others,

a girl sails to

the grave of digressions.

given binoculars not

her own, she sees

what they claim are

the original

graves of all those, like

herself, without

a language to

count. she says,

how can this be? &

focuses the binoculars

on a sandy mound

not quite 10’ high

and 20’ long,

strangely out of place

in an otherwise

gorgeous but remote

land. of course, she

does not believe them

& so far has not

picked up on

the not-so-subtle

clues they have dropped

along the way.

for example,

a clue of purpose

painted on

the gangplank. a clue of

origin as they sail away

from land. clarity

as they hand her the binoculars

to see for

herself. she looks hard,

long, puzzling over

the dimensions. is it

an illusion? she says.

she touches the coin buried

in her pocket & remembers

the boxes she has carried

from the garage to her kitchen,

down to the basement & back up

to the garage. she does not know

where the boxes came

from. she does not look

inside of them. she does not

want to carry them up

& down stairs, from garage

to kitchen to basement

& back again. she sweeps

the corners, hides

under dust, grabs

the rag & spreads her duty

across the ceiling 12’ above

her reaching

to touch the dome

she dreams

to encase the images

she will not

forget: the sailor

who entices her aboard &

tricks her name. the palm

in the arch of her back, gently

pushing her out

the door & the lock

clicking behind her. she

picks up the binoculars beside

her bed & watches

the ceiling move away

from land. she walks

up the gangplank with

the others. they stretch

to embrace

her. she nods &

turns. alone, she says,

only alone. she walks

clear-headed in a blue

sundress, w/spaghetti

straps & a hat festooned

with flowers—zinnias &

marigolds. she arrives

on time & stands

straight as a flagpole.

the trumpet calls.

the flag curls in

the breeze. she is the only

one wrapped in coins, like

a costume of gold. how

can he miss her? she holds

back, watching him

watching her. he tells

her when to look. guides

her hand. turns

the wheel. pushes the scopes

to fit her eye

space. she touches

his forehead, lock

of hair. she gives him

the hat, tells

him to put it on.

you look ravishing, she says.

your beauty is unsurpassed.

where there is her blue

dress, w/spaghetti straps

she uses both hands

to tell the difference

between clarity &

origin, watches

the sandy mound keep

time with them, their slow

pace perfectly

matched. if time passes,

she does not see it. he

holds her steady. she

loves his beauty.

she relinquishes the boxes,

the ones piled so high

they reach the dome

of unmatched

continents. she pulls

out the coin

buried in her pocket &

gives it to him.

he says, thank you.

she names her purpose

& smiles.

Originally published in Guillinna on Four Wheels by Sandra Squire Fluck. Available on Apple Books and Amazon Kindle.

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