Once, in the land of Ecrovid,
a man found himself
chewing on fish bones
he’d plucked from a pile of ashes on the beach.
He stared out into the blue
and thought of his son across the sea
in need of a father,
of all his supportive friends,
and the inappropriate, sometimes amusing support from strangers,
like the two laughing boys riding a camel
who invited him into the desert to forget,
or the woman who showed him a picture of herself
kissing a different stranger
and didn’t explain why,
or the turtle who had surfaced
while he clung to the broken mast.
The turtle had said he would be fine
if he could only get to the beach beyond the sunset
because that’s where baby turtles come from.
It made no sense to the man
but nothing did.
So when the three mountains
peaked over the horizon
he’d followed the turtle’s directions.
But the beach was empty.
And all the strangers
shouted kindnesses from a great distance
about the beauty of certain parts of the land of Ecrovid
places he could not reach.
And no one rescued him.
He thought about the storm while he chewed the bones.
She had come upon the boat so quickly
Striking with lightning.
Sinking with efficiency.
You cannot be angry at storms
for being storms.
Or at ashes for tasting
Or at innocent fish
long dead fire.
Benjamin Gorman is the author of The Sum of Our Gods, Corporate High School, and The Digital Storm. His novel Don’t Read This Book will be released in March of 2019. He runs an independent press for genre fiction called Not a Pipe Publishing. Gorman lives and teaches in Independence, Oregon. Learn more at Teacher Gorman.com