Fiction | Rhys Fraser

calm spoke the sea

I – Bones of the Land

Left it behind for a few days. Drove deep toward the sea, with all else behind me, just for a few days, a few days, nothing more. Time away. Bag in the back for walking. I drove toward the receding hills, where the contours flatten out, the land where shot sound rings for miles over bracken and water, where wildfowlers crouch in the field amongst the wildflowers waiting for something to spring
The radio changed as I drove over the boundaries, distant music to static to the strange voices now ghosting through the speakers, thick behind the veil of feedback. I stopped the car and sat on my foldout chair by the roadside, just a few days, nothing more. Just a few days. I looked at the low fog, early evening, that’s just what it looks like inside, here
I look behind me, I see no boundary now I just see a shimmer, an echo of a line, a pale horizon, now I am
here to the concrete almost-edge where I am closer to the water than the centre, much closer; here at the last few blocks before the blue and non-blue expanse of sea and sky, heaven and the depths, or just the other
where I am now walking, to the small lanes, where there is more space between the houses, where their land is fenced off, where the jeeps are parked in the gravel drives, where the st george and union flags fly with pride or in defiance, where the dogs guard against intruders or against the wind that makes leaves dance and trees ache
I look up at two powerlines strung parallel across the night, I see the the kosmos is bisected entirely between my past and my future; across that night sky a contrail strafes through orion’s belt, straight through between alnitak and alnilam, the vapour strung out in a sheen of shimmering plate crystal, pearlescent, like dying silk against the nebulae
I stand and look out to the vast sea that stretches across the horizon, and there in the dark of the horizon line I see a great blaze, a petrol tanker or old wooden warship burning in furious flames, it burns so bright and silently, I know not what it is
and as I look up at the sky, at the celestial bodies, so my mind moves out to that sea
 the next day I walked to it for renewal

 II – Blood of the Water

those who come to the edge
come to disappear


if just for a moment
but there is no real edge, that space between sand and sea is so mutable, it pushes forward, backward, forward again, until the land you knew is land no longer, land underneath water
so you stand, looking at that water lapping over the sand, the liminal space where you can be in both at once, the space between spaces, to the space where you cannot go, the open impasse of water, Θἀλασσα, where the spirit is
mind too at an edge, where the space between a thought becomes greater, could you even have a thought now that was like before, like what is behind
like this land where even voices are water, blood is water, the land itself, the earth, is water, what is to carry you when that is gone
water                        water
water                             water
repeated until it becomes a sound, a voice itself, the voice you hear as the waves lap, the voice of waves
gathering wildflowers before the flood, singing cirrus-like songs of a quiet and empty sky, remembering sound before there was noise
remembering your favourite piano piece, nocturnes like the sound of warm rain, fucking in the soil returning to the soil, could you do it could you make that sound disappear
keep walking along the shore
in the distance people stand, naked, at the edge of the sea, the not-edge, dotted like sad stone sentinels, the last things, so nude they look almost unreal, those apparitions of bodies on the shore [like] stone and steelflesh stations of the cross
now you see them not much different from you, stone spirits of where the so-called edge meets oblivion, one not more than a hundred yards from the other, spaced along the sand, sad stone eyes turned to the sea, we are all at our end
strike your own trail across those bodies, no other fellow in the firmament than you, grains of sand that stand for galaxies all trodden under your foot
dimmer and dimmer, greater   and    greater    apart       the        space        between      you
a n  d
t  h    e
o t  h e   r    s 

III – Breath of the Sky

lonely souls from the land stand muted at the edge they want the sea to welcome them, the sea welcomes nothing nothing speak again, still they pray, again nothing, speak again
still intoned thalassa, your waters run as calm as land, but for the wind
the fire that was seen rages and licks the surface of the oily black deep, the ship’s body burns and breathes and busts, stoked by the winds, here where the oxygen seems visible
old men reproached the sea, enemy of mankind, still thalassa your waters run calm, but for the wind, but for the scars of shipwrecks, but for the ghosts of men, spirit of that pale carnage;
no more old wars with wooden ships these are new seas now, the currency is plastic
like litter washed up on the shore

Rhys Fraser is a writer who sometimes also takes pictures. He is currently having a break in Athens, working on a photo book and trying to sort his life out.
Instagram: @rhys_also_fraser

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