original photo by martin garrido. illustration by metagramme


The coastline – scooped, hammered, fjorded – Call it a metaphor for the year: ever-shifting from rivermouth to beachbreak, sea wall and graven boulders; to wharf and quay, pebbled bay, hidden covelet, lighthouse-headland – like a knee, shoved into the slavering maw of the North Atlantic, navy-deep, winter-fell; then fears faced, wave of a lifetime, gray-shouldered beauty, ridden from gazebo to shallows; the unexpected pelt of grass, a green stubbornness on the doorstep of Nor-easters; the explosive autumn, ignition of leaves, flux of tropical energy guttered, paid in full upon our rockbound shores; then the great bay-mouth, tombstone terrace, unfettered pulse howling on the heels of an unscrupulous runner; crunch of ice underfoot, the persistent salt slurry keeping frost at tide’s length; to the secret cove – a respite of groomed corduroy, peeling lines, a south swell obeying the triangular sweep of reef, the silent A-frame cottage, alert among the cobblestones; then Matunuck in his canoe, ancient watchman of Barnacle Lane, bruise of heel and blood of foot; the body of Christ, trinity of reef, stacked set-waves thundering in chorus; a blind letting-go when the bottom drops, a volley of salt-bullets to the face; the catch and set of fins, commitment to a vector, to a heartbreak, a philosophy, baptism; and so I traveled from boyhood to manhood, thirteen months in a blink, a life-bank of memory, sturdy rations for quiet meals on dimmer days.

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