Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shhhhhhhhhhhh

wolfy is cooking . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Poems For Jamie Wyeth, Part Three


Mushroom Picker

i don’t care for mushrooms myself
they smell like cellars
but i was talkin’ to Calvin
at the feed store
and he told me his brother quit
workin’ in the mines
and started growing mushrooms
in their old sheep shed
all kinds too
the kinds that people,
mushroom aficionados, so to speak,
pay a lot for
so i got to thinkin’
about Calvin’s brother
breathin’ the soft damp
air of mushrooms
instead of coal dust
and how accustomed
he is to gettin’ around in the dark
with nothin’ but a lamp on his head
must be a relief for him
knowin’ the roof ain’t gonna cave in
and he probably has lunch up at the house
with his wife now
where they can look out the window
at that old pony with the one blue eye


 Island Library

the librarian’s afternoon began with a quandary
and ended with an embarrassment
only four attended the carefully publicized
Travel Writer’s reading
and one of the four
an impressionable nine year old
who refused to sit in a chair
and instead lay in the grass
in an ill fitting gingham dress
with one sock up and one sock down
blowing enormous bubbles
of her gum
as the Travel Writer read stories
of his summer in Sicily
in 1972 or was it 1962?
the librarian was in such a state
the year of his jaunt hardly mattered
it was difficult enough when he spoke
of the blustery red-faced Englishman who came to his villa
asking for matches when
a light for his Cuban cigar
wasn’t really what he wanted at all
sordid enough was that tale
but then to speak of the fantasies brought on
as he ate pastries;
minne di Sant’Agata,
she hoped while he paused
that a translation would not follow
but it did
the breasts of Saint Agatha,
he held the candied cherry nipples
on his tongue . . .
and well,
the nine year old
let the pink bubble deflate
and the gum descended over her lips and chin
and her mother looked far out to the sea
where a sailboat appeared and disappeared
in the waves of a distant storm

Monday, November 14, 2011

Poems For Jamie Wyeth, Part Two

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson

what i remember
is the clock
over the doors
mechanized by a series of weights
strung on wire cables
descending into beautiful round holes
cut into the foyer floors
and the revolving door
that led into the dining room
slaves on one side
placing silver trays of food
and spinning the door
so state secrets
stayed on the table 
like bread crumbs
and most of all,
his bed
it was lilliputian
and built into the wall 
of his chambers
he slept like a book
upon a shelf
i could imagine him curled
in velvet and lambs wool
reading by the sparks of a fire
until a slave woman
doused the lamp


Portrait of Andy Warhol

who was the pale man?
which one?
the one i sat next to,
he looked like a vampire . . . 
that was Andy Warhol's boyfriend
but how?
did you like your hamburger?
yes, but how?
Peter owns many of his paintings
yes, Marilyn is in the living room
or is that Liz Taylor?
there's a little soup can in the bathroom
but how?
what?
I don't think he liked me
who?
Mr. Warhol's boyfriend
he doesn't like anyone
not even Andy


Portrait of a Lady

i follow my sisters
foolishly up these hills
they speak of chestnuts
but all i've found 
is old barbed wire
and the bones of a dog
a bell rings
in the valley
he's gone to church
where he'll strike a deal
for winter hay
all for sweaters
his wife makes of us
on the loom 
near the chimney

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Poems For Jamie Wyeth, Part One

Winter Pig

one doesn’t go to sleep
expecting such a sight
as this
in the morning
where is my field?
where is the sky?
where is my breakfast
of last night’s cabbage and
bread and rutabagas?
this is most extraordinary
indeed


Runaway Pig

if this is my only moment
let it be the fleetest
my belly is full
of half risen dough
and the last of the beets
from the garden
i spent most of the night
digging them up
under her window
as the moon glittered
in the hemlocks
certainly she will find
my house dark and quiet
and empty of me
will she drop the bucket
of celery roots
and boiled rice?
who will she call?
or will she ride the pony
alone in these woods
to find me
finally asleep
near the cliffs?
then
yes
i will follow her home
and the pony
will shake his tail
at the thought
of capturing pig


Pig And The Train

first time
it went by
i was a suckling
now i am
near slaughter
and the fields
are full of
dried golden rod
i know it’s coming now
the horn in the distance
and the steam
mixing with the grey sky
the birds tell me
it’s full of rutabagas
but i know better
it’s full of coal



Little Fox Hunters . . .

Autumn Menagerie

Friday, November 11, 2011

Immortality

A literature teacher asked me last night if i was worried that that someone might steal my stories off my blog . . . the thought had occurred to me, but then again, at this juncture, in my lack luster writing career, i believe i would be flattered if someone stole a story.

seriously though, there are all sorts of writers out there sharing their work on blogs for free and i think the chances of someone plagiarizing are low - unless a desperate creative writing student in Nebraska just happens to need a story for class the next day.

i do wonder what all those hits from Russia and Poland are about some times, perhaps my stories will show up in a collection written by some Moscow hack who will be touted as the next Dostoyevsky. And because it will be years and years before it's translated back to English (as it was stolen from me and originally in English) - then well, i will never know about it. But someone, some literary blog historian of the future will make the discovery, will see that this Russian's prose are actually the work of Wolfy, and he will be exposed and his bronze statue will be toppled in Red Square. That kinda thing could lead to my immortality. So having a story stolen from my blog wouldn't be so bad after all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Repatriation








Last night I dreamed we were moving back to Bermuda. My husband didn’t have a job there yet, but we were packing boxes and in a rush to make a plane. I looked around our house and realized that we couldn’t possibly pack everything in the time we had. The last thing I remember about the dream is asking, “Why? Why are we going back there?”

This morning I realized I never finished telling my story of Bermuda. There are many chapters I haven’t written for you and perhaps the dream was my brain’s way of saying, “Finish the story.”

We were repatriated -- if you flip through the pages of my passport, you will find a stamp dated August 1, 1998 declaring Involuntary Repatriation. It’s an awfully nice way of saying we were required to leave the country. We weren’t exactly deported, we were just no longer expats. Repatriation rings of some sort of chemical process, as though we were pasteurized, reconstituted, hydrated, and reanimated. We were powdered patriots, they added skim milk and we were full on flavorful patriots of the United States again. But at the same time it’s sounds as though we did something outrageous, as though we scoffed the law and the powers of Bermuda tracked us down on a remote reef and airlifted us back to the States - as though we were extradited and locked up in the Hague, oh, wait a minute, that’s what happened to Goldfinger only a few years after we were excommunicated from paradise, but that’s another chapter in this complicated little yarn.

A month before everything went to pieces, we were watching the BBC evening news - it was May, the beginning of the High Season in Bermuda, the time when all the tourists would begin streaming in. The waters were warm and sapphire, but we felt an unease, not for any particular reason, just that we had been on the island long enough to know a storm was coming, even if one could not be detected on the empty sea horizon. But on this particular night, the BBC was telling the story of an African country that had plunged into war practically overnight and a violent coup d'├ętat had made the situation so unsafe for expats that they had been ordered to leave as soon as possible. There were harrowing scenes of American and European aid workers dashing across broken tarmac and climbing desperately into planes with nothing but the clothes on their backs furiously waving their passports. My husband commented to me, “I would like to be in that situation just once, you know? To have only a few hours to get out of a place incredibly dangerous and to experience the fear and then the thrill of the plane lifting off the ground whisking you home.” I laughed, and said, “Yeah, like Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver in The Year of Living Dangerously . . . ” The thought of being loosed from all your possessions, of dodging bullets, of being a refugee has it's allure I suppose, but only for a moment.

It would come by way of Houdini, the news that is. Every day Houdini brought my husband and his two coworkers lunch at the small converted farm house where they would be programming away, writing code to make Goldfinger richer. It was odd that they were cloistered away in the farm house near Goldfinger’s horse stable, while just a few miles away, down in Flatts Village, the traders who played with Goldfinger’s money worked all day on his private trading floor. The farm house was quiet and on the surface it seemed logical to have the engineers work in isolation from the daily hubub of the futures and bonds traders who made alot of racket on the phone all day. But there was a territorial element, the engineers were building an automated trading system that if completed would render the human traders redundant. We were always kept slightly on the outside of everything for fear that hostilities would replace the usual good manners everyone used with one another. And to keep the engineers fueled and coding away, elaborate lunches were delivered by Goldfinger’s driver Houdini. But it wasn’t just food that Houdini brought on that day in the end of June. Houdini came to the door somewhat stricken by what he had seen while delivering lunch to the trading floor. Goldfinger had fired everyone in a fit of rage over what he perceived as an inexcusable loss of his money over the past several months. He cleared the decks, even firing his longtime partner and friend, The Egyptian - a man who had worked for him since the days of selling cars in Holland and then orchestrated singlehandedly the cornering of the world oil market a decade before, shocking the international trading community. The Egyptian had been through the fire bombings in South Africa and Holland with Goldfinger, his firing sounded like pigs flying over hell.

Houdini warned my husband and the other boys in the farmhouse that Goldfinger was on his way to fire them too. Py didn’t wait around, he got on his motorbike and came straight back to Casa Verde where I was eating my own lunch after working at the Aquarium all morning. Jack the dog barked the bark that told me Py was headed up Lolly’s Well Road and I knew something wasn’t right. He wasn’t supposed to be home til cocktail hour. I went out on the veranda and saw him round the corner past the quarry and the sound of the bike was even wrong. Jack and I met Py out in the driveway, “It’s over, everyone’s been fired. Even the Egyptian. We’ve got 30 days to get home.”

Now 30 days might seem like alot to you. But when you’re living on a rock in the middle of the ocean and you have very little savings because living on the rock has drained your account, it’s a damn short time to plan re-entry. We had no jobs, no home, we had to sell a right-hand drive mini car, a motorbike, and a few pieces of furniture that we couldn’t take back to the States. And we had two cats and a dog. We were adrift.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hey Jerry Bailey, I'm Talking to You . . .

I'm the daughter of one of the first women to earn a New York Racing Association Trainer's License - she paid her dues in sweat and hard labor and keeping her head high when men on the track tried to take advantage of her. She arrived on the track with practically nothing back in 1969 and by 1970 she was galloping horses for Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkins. And in 1975 she struck out on her own with a trainer's license and a handful of owners. My mother was a pioneer and it's women like her who have paved the way for Girls on the backstretch and without those efforts jockeys like Chantal Sutherland wouldn't be where they are today.

But it seems that nothing has changed.

Imagine my mother's reaction, not to mention mine, while watching ABC/ESPN's coverage of The Breeder's Cup, when you, Mr. Bailey, said that Sutherland is "known more for her activities off the track than on." Now some might say you were referring to her Vogue coverage or her role in HBO's upcoming series Luck, but to some viewers the implications of this statement are pretty torrid -- you might as well have said Sutherland was just another pretty face who has slept her way to the top of racing. As I listened to you and your fellow commentators discuss Sutherland's career, I had a hard time believing that you were discussing a professional jockey. The next thing I expected you to quip was if Sutherland was lucky enough to pull off a victory in her upcoming race, she might just get a date with Bobby Flay.

Men like you are perpetuating chauvinism in racing -- a sport that dearly needs to examine the successes and contributions of it's woman workforce -- and I'm not talking about the wealthy owners and breeders, but the women who work seven days a week on the backstretch in all kinds of weather with low pay and minimal protection if they get hurt.

I'm sure you and the TV executives have all sorts of excuses for why you blurted out such an irresponsible thing, but it would be just that: excuses and jabs at someone who might be taking all that you say too seriously. And others might say Sutherland is "prostituting' herself through the media, but a Girl's Gotta Do What a Girl's Gotta Do and bottom line, Bob Baffert wouldn't have put her up on Game On Dude if she couldn't ride. Somewhere out there young women riders are watching your coverage of racing and wondering if it might be the career path for them -- I just hope they got steelier and more determined when they heard you make a mole hill out of the mountain that Sutherland and other women who work on the track have had to climb. And then of course, Chantal's stunning second place finish in the Classic might just have wiped your comment off the their mind's completely.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Question of the Day

Overheard in the produce section, one senior citizen to another: Don't they have any normal bananas?

Their Own Electricity . . .

On this barely sunny morning i was dazzled by a spear of light from a black man’s gold tooth as he smiled and strided up Churton Street against the traffic . . .

After the sun came, it went, and the sky filled with wet asphalt clouds and in the woods we couldn’t quite believe our eyes -- the river was filled with rushing water once again after months of drought and the trees with their remaining leaves glowed in the weirdest lime green . . . the scarlet maples and the ochre poplars were put to shame by the leaves that had remained green into this first week of November, it was as though they were injected with phosphorescence and they blinded us with this light that seemed to have been saved from the brightest summer day for this stormy morning.

Following two yellow school buses, i rounded the corner near the water treatment plant and was caught up in the slightly hysterical gate of a skinny man in his navy pajamas with white horizontal stripes . . . he was barefooted and looked as though he had escaped from somewhere, but i saw him stop to open a mailbox and finding it empty, he left the little door ajar and he dashed wildly back under a deep green cedar toward a crooked mobile home with a grey door.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Autumn Slides into November

the autumn woods were a green-eyed calico cat in the late afternoon sun . . .

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Bear

“I’m going to try the Souvlaki  . . .”

“What? Nobody eats that stuff, have something normal like a grilled cheese.”

“But it’s on the menu. It’s always been on the menu. It’s a Greek diner, why not have something authentic?”

“Because nobody has ever ordered it, I guarantee you. They have some souvlaki back there in the freezer. It’s been there since 1972 because nobody has ever ordered it. You want 40 year old eggplant?”

“I guess not . . . ”

She shifted in her seat, the bear suit was getting warm under the artificial Tiffany chandelier in the booth. She took off the bear paws and laid them on top of the little juke box. The waitress came and leaned over the table to straighten the little bowl of candy corns, “Hi honey, nice bear suit. I wouldn't eat those candy corns, they're just for decoration ya know.”

“Thanks . . . ”

“What are you two in the mood for tonight?” The waitress smoothed her red hair, and brought the end of her long pony tail over her shoulder. She readied her pumpkin topped pen at the top of her order pad.

“Well, not the Souvlaki,” he said and winked at his bear.

“No? I just had some in the kitchen on my break, good stuff, but no one ever orders it.”

“The bear and I will have the grilled cheese plate - and can you put a slice of ham in mine?”

“Sure honey. I’ll be back with your drinks, Coke right? You two always get Cokes.”

The waitress returned to set the Cokes down and put two straws on the table, “So she’s a bear, but what are you dressed as?” she asked.

“I don’t wear Halloween costumes.” He said this while carefully tearing the paper away from the straw, he pushed the straw through the ice at the top of his glass and simultaneously handed the other straw to the bear, who waved it away and just started drinking her Coke from the glass through her bear muzzle, “You should use a straw you know,” he said to her.

“Oh, so your costume is The Serious Guy, right?” Said the waitress.

“What?” he looked slightly pained at the waitress.

“It was just joke honey, right little bear?” The waitress winked at the bear and spun away to take more orders.

The two of them sat there quietly for a while, and she could hear Billy Joel softly singing she’s always a woman to me in the next booth. She liked what the waitress said, she thought it was funny, The Serious Guy and the Bear go out to the diner for Halloween. What kind of Serious Guy takes a bear to a Greek diner anyway she thought. A diner where no one orders the Souvlaki. And why shouldn’t she drink her Coke straight from the glass? She felt beads of sweat running down her rib cage, it wasn’t so hot at the party, but the party was outside, in the dark, and near the beach, there was a breeze. It was a nice place to be a bear, under the weeping willows with the pumpkins all aglow and the silly crowd of friends who she hadn’t seen since graduation. Most of them went to college, but she stayed behind to work in the seafood restaurant with her father. Some day, some day she would go to college, but right now her father needed her to make clams on the half shell.

“So Samantha, I’ve been thinking . . . ”

“Yeah Sam?”

“I wanted to ask you why you dressed up as a bear tonight.”

“It’s my homage to John Irving, I thought you knew that.”

“Oh yeah, you mean Natasha Kinski.”

“Yeah, in Hotel New Hampshire. . . she’s the bear.”

"You mean the lesbian bear.”

“Yes, if that’s how you want to think of her, the lesbian bear.”

“But you could have dressed up as Jodie Foster you know . . . in the school uniform, with the short kilt and the knee socks.”

“But nobody would have known it was Jodie Foster. They would have just thought I was wearing a Greens Farms Academy uniform.”

“Yeah, but it would have been sexier. Oh wait, I know, you could have dressed up as Natasha Kinski in a snake.”

“That was a Vanity Fair photo silly, it had nothing to do with John Irving. And anyway, where am I going to find a snake that big?”

“It’s just . . .”

“I know Sam, you wanted me to dress like the other girls do on Halloween - like a French Maid, or Cat Woman, or Marilyn Monroe. Something so sexy that you want to rip off my costume at the end of the night right?”

“Samantha!”

“Well?”

“This is almost as bad as last year. You went too far you know, you cut off all your hair and went as Joan of Arc Burning at the Stake.”

“Hey! That was my best costume ever.”

“You looked ridiculous tied to that post all night.”

“But I thought men wanted their girls all tied up?”

“Samantha!”

“Sam!”

The red headed waitress returned with grilled cheeses, “Grilled cheese with ham for the Serious Guy and a plain grilled cheese for the bear, with a little sample of Souvlaki on the side honey, maybe you’ll like it.”

“Thank you so much,” Samantha picked up her fork and her big hairy elbow knocked her Coke over and it spilled across Sam’s plate dousing his grilled cheese in ice and soda.

“That’s it! Samantha you’re just too weird for me.”

“Wait -- one night a year I don’t dress the way you like and that’s it?”

“No it’s not just Halloween, it’s everything. You know what your problem is?”

“Gosh Sam, what is my problem?”

“You don’t want to be like anyone else, you go straight out of your way to be infuriatingly counter clockwise. And besides, you always smell slightly like your father’s fish house” The redheaded waitress stooped with a small towel to stop the ice and soda from running off the table and into Sam’s lap.

“Honey, I don’t mean to butt in here, but you two been coming here since junior high and well . . . ”

“Would you PLEASE leave me alone!” Sam stood up and tore his overcoat from the coat hook on the side of the booth, “I’m sorry, I gotta get outta here.”

“It was the nurse wasn’t it?” Samantha grabbed the waitress’ arm, “Please stay, I want you to hear him answer me.”

“Okay honey, I’m right here for you.”

“What nurse?”

“The nurse at the party, the one who told you to listen to her heart with the pink stethoscope. She gave you her number. You’re going back there to pick her up. And you’re going to leave me here to walk home in a bear suit.”

“It’s not that far of a walk, you live on Long Lots Road.” Sam put his coat over his shoulders, “I’ll pay the check. Don’t call me anymore.” Sam spun around and walked straight into the little Hungarian hostess with the silver bee hive teetering on high heels, she was carrying two Manhattans on a tray and the tray flew from her hands, the amber liquor drenching her little blue grey Chanel knockoff. The diner froze and Sam never stopped, didn't even pay the cashier.

The redheaded waitress sat down in the booth with Samantha, “Honey, do you need a ride home?”

"You know what? I don't think he even knows that Jodie Foster's a lesbian . . . "

"What's that honey?"


"Oh nothing . . . don't worry, I can walk home.”

“Really? In a bear suit?”

“Yes, in a bear suit, who’s going to bother a bear on Long Lots Road on Halloween?”

“Nobody I guess. But eat the souvlaki before you go, that way it don't go to waste.”

More From Project Vacate Facebook

Ultimately, Facebook is like being stuck in a traffic jam. The long road trip began with such promise. You were on your way to a land of old friends and maybe some family. The highway was wide and there were so few cars the miles zipped by. The vistas were filled with bright sky. But the lanes narrowed and became more numerous. The cars seemed to be coming at you from every direction. You made a wrong turn and suddenly you were on a one-way toll road to Montreal with no exits. Finally you get to an exit, near the Canadian border, and the toll lady sees your panic, she tells you, “Take a right and a right and another right, and that might you get back to where you want to be . . .  deary.” And so you do as she told you and next thing you know you’re in four maybe fives lanes of headlight to tail traffic and you decide the only thing you can do is roll down the window and change the cd in the player -- maybe listen to some Neil Young for a change. But then you are drawn to listen to the music coming the car next to you and before you know it you are reading all the bumper stickers - so many bumper stickers . . . inspirational, angry, political, and then there are ones that make no sense at all. You look to your right and watch a copper colored minivan roll by - it’s packed with a family. Father is driving. Mother is making peanut butter crackers for her hypnotized children in the back - they are all staring up at individual flashing blue tv screens and they do not blink. Father answers his cell phone. Mother puts down the crackers and knife covered in peanut butter and begins to text.  Then they are gone and you see a woman in a convertible . . . is that a red Thunderbird? And she’s in a bikini and her hair is blowing in the wind although she is only going two miles an hour and she is steering the little sports car with her perfectly manicured painted bare toes while she sells vitamins on her Blackberry. It begins to drizzle, and then snow, and you are running low on gas and then? A man leers at you from his Wonder Bread Truck. You roll up your windows and change the cd again, now you decide is a good time to listen to something from Bob Dylan and you stop reading the bumper stickers and instead decide to clean out your glove compartment. You’re hungry. You miss home. You’re running low on gas. The engine is making a noise. What would happen if you got out of the car and walked? Would anyone care? Just beyond the big Dairy Queen sign, someone hits you from behind. It’s quite a jolt. You sit for a minute and try to take in the implications of this. If there’s damage, then it’s going to be a big complicated mess - what with being out of state and all. But it’s their fault you tell yourself, it’s always the one who comes from behind who’s to blame . . . right? You catch sight of a tweed coated figure stomping toward your door in the rear view mirror and you see the sparkle of broken glass on the wet pavement . . . you take a deep breath and reach for your registration because you know exactly where it is now that you cleaned out your glove compartment, and you roll down the window. The tweed man leans in and smiles, “You should have been paying more attention!” Night is falling, the distinct glow of GPS units seems to come from every car as you near the Tappan Zee, like little stars. Ice fog is rising from the Hudson and a train horn blows in the distance and then you see the train just like a toy in a Park Avenue window at Christmas time making it’s way along the big river from the City into the suburbs where it will deposit commuters like coins in their little towns - they will go home and eat reheated pizza and watch bad movies while they text their lovers.  The exits are numerous now, the parkway has no tolls, you pick a familiar place and decide to stay there for the night . . .

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sea Horse . . . Fragment One Revisited

He'd been alone on the island for three years now. Or maybe four, he couldn't keep track anymore. Why keep track? He was inclined to getting depressed if he knew it was Tuesday, a day of the week with terrible associations, so this is what he did. He watched the stars and the phases of the moon, and he noticed when it was getting cold -- he knew the seasons by their presence, not by some calendar. 
The island was three square miles, he had flown over it once in the government helicopter, during a military survey and it struck him strange that the island was shaped like a trophy he'd won as a schoolboy for running a cross country race, some sort of overgrown pewter bonbon dish. He smiled every time he thought of it, that he lived in a bonbon dish in the North Sea. His wife would have smiled too.
The government gave him an out after the accident. They'd set him up on the continent for life; they even sent a psychologist to talk to him, to explore the tears in his armor, to reason with him -- did he understand isolation? Yes was the answer, yes . . . 
There was the lighthouse to attend, the weather station, and now experimental gardening plots. The supply tug came the third Saturday of every month and with it a month's worth of mail -- memos from the government updating him on the Dispute and letters from his father in Vancouver -- wouldn't he visit please? No was the answer, no . . . The Dispute was three hundred years old and the government was always reassurring that the Opponents' claim was fallow. He read the memos always with a glass of whiskey and sometimes late at night mused at the idea of being overrun by the Opponents - he saw them coming by many small fishing boats covered in seaweed and carrying hand made swords and chanting in Portuguese. They'd slit his throat at dawn and burn his thatch roof -- all that would remain is the stonewalls of his home at the base of the lighthouse. The government would send exactly three military helicopters, but the pilots would retreat at the sight of the practically prehistoric Opponents -- they'd bear away from the island, radio in, and say Let them have the godforsaken place.
*****
It was a good day for fishing. There had been a horrendous storm two nights ago that beat the sea to a black froth and kept him at the lighthouse post for thirty hours. The radio was full of voices and static and word of a freighter that had gone down some sixty nautical miles from his cliffs. This was the sea to him, the water took prisoners occasionally just as the moon drove some mad and the sun burned men who were foolish enough to cross the desert. But when the skies cleared, when the sea's belly was satiated, he always crossed himself, and thought of the ship's men, of their bones whitening with the salt of the sea, of their wives left behind . . . sea widows were his sisters. 
And the sea always was happiest and at its most beautiful after a rage, after a kill, and these were the days he felt fine enough to sail and fish -- the sea wouldn't want him or his little green skiff and he could leave the lighthouse and the green house and the puffins. He'd had terribly good luck finding sailfish and dolphin on a southwestern current last time he'd gone out and he decided to take the same tack this time, pushing off from what Adelle used to call Tern Rock.
One mile out, he dropped his sail. He watched the surface of the water as he prepared his rod, pushing bait, mussels he'd pulled the night before, and two hawksbill turtle heads bobbed momentarily, snorted softly, so that only he could hear them, and then they dove. Indeed, it was a good morning. He cast his line and settled in with no expectations -- his father taught him as a boy that expectation rang down the line and tinged off the end of the hook making for nervous fish. His mind drifted to the dream he'd had the night before -- she came to him often in dreams, sometimes it was just an afternoon in the lighthouse, and up the stairs she'd come with tea and a piece of cake, but other times, such as on this night, she crawled between the sheets with him. It was unbearably good to have her straddle over him, her hands pressed on his shoulders, her thighs holding his hips together. And waking was always horrible, because all that was left was the air. He wondered if his longing for her would bring the fish to the hook.
But something came with the green current that wasn't a fish at all. It heaved with struggle, was it a hammerhead? It wasn't. It was something not of the water, this he knew. It was black and monstrous as it made its way toward the skiff. He reeled his line in, empty and light, still laden with mussel meat and tossed the rod back on the deck. The dark apparition came closer and closer, and he caught sight of the white of an eye, and then the horrifying realization came over him that this was nothing but a horse! It blew water from its nostrils as a whale might blow water from its spout.  He absentmindedly reached for the one life jacket he kept aboard the skiff, but realized this was a ridiculous effort, and went instead to raise his sail as the panicked horse pounded the currents at his hull. He called out, "Horse!" and the horse rolled one eye up at him as if to say "Man!" and the wind filled the sail, as the skiff lurched back toward the island, so did the horse. He held the skiff as straight and fine as he could, but his eyes kept falling on the horse who rose and sank with every stride, for she wasn't swimming, she was galloping beneath the currents -- her broad back, her hind quarters machined in a weirdly watery way, as though she was born of the fishes.