From ABOVE US ONLY SKY, copyright 2013
I don’t remember if I pulled my nightgown overhead or if it tore free. I remember the darkness, white caps on the water, an eggplant sky. I was on top of the ledge. I was careful, wiggling my toes. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t fall because the wind was blowing against me, blowing me back toward the safety of the pier’s walkway. It was nice up there. I was naked, licked clean by salt. My invisible wings expanding, growing, spreading, how they did that first time in the audiovisual room. Not heavy but pulsing. I wasn’t going to jump. I’ll admit that I did want to fly. I recall the wind spinning me up, tornado fashion, hurling me like a speck, and for a second, I thought I would drop safely, disappointingly to the pier, but my wings caught the wind. I ascended—for a second or more. For two seconds. Maybe three. I thought I would fly away. But these wings I carried were only ghost wings. I plummeted, dropped forty feet, my heels striking the water’s surface. I submerged into the bottomless deep.
For a little bit, all was dark, murky, like that whole night. Below the surface, I awoke to luminescent jellyfish with tentacles like fingers, holding, caressing me. All around, there was luminescent plankton like stars. An octopus pulsed past. The jelly tentacles clung to me, the surf like boiling stew. Anemones and silver fish ripped past, then brighter fish, orange and green zip lines, the waves like puppet masters, maneuvering my arms and legs, lifting me up and dropping me down. I swallowed the sea and it likewise me. The puppet master left me pressed against a barnacle-covered piling. My body was limp, my strings cut. The barnacles scraped and sliced my skin, glowing now like the jellyfish. Then, I saw the winged girl swimming toward me. She was real. I could see her. I had told Wheaton that she was mine. She belonged to me. Maybe I was dead. With black hair floating and wings enormous, she came. I reached for her hand and caught it. She grabbed back. Her fingers were rough, striated, how I remembered my father’s hands. She was holding tight, pulling me away from the piling, but I didn’t want to go. Her mouth was open. Her eyes were green with orange starbursts. Like mine. I knew her. That’s the last I remember.