Brine

by Brighde Moffat

1. Low Tide

I did not mean to haunt her.
Sand piles at the door of her house, it barely opens anymore. She knows it will never sell. She stares out at the sea, one hand resting on her belly. The house, the emptiness of it, can pull her beneath any surface.
A bundle of salt gleams in the distance, she thinks she sees a child in its shape.
A face forms. Bridge of the nose, cheekbones, lips, soft eyelids. Four limbs grow out from the center.
I am not the most beautiful, but it cannot be said I am unwanted.

2. King Tide

The sea rushes towards her house. The water’s chop tosses me up, again and again, into her line of sight.  
She dips a finger into a puddle of water, then rubs it against the pale of her gums. Salt-sting. The woman woke to seawater filling the house, staining the wallpaper. Each new month it rises higher than the last. Crisis becomes a routine she cannot weather.
The woman has taken to watching for me. She is beginning to understand when I come and when I go. She develops theories for how this works.

3. Rip Tide

Flail.

4. Red Tide

The waves sigh in heaves of copper. She read in the newspaper what an harmful algae bloom does to skin, what it will do to her interior once it soaks through. That is nothing compared to loneliness, she thinks.
The woman hurries into the crimson stain. It creeps up her thighs. She scoops the lump of salt to her chest.
In the same breath, pulled together and apart. My body pearls infinitely in her arms. Dissolved by the first and last of her touch. Red. A perfect color for our goodbye.

++++++



Brighde Moffat (they/them): a responsible mess who routinely ghosts bad bosses. attuned to crisis and obsessed with permeability and patterns. should have would have been a lost boi.