Feb 19, 2008

Come Back

Written by Dorianne Laux

Read by Davis McCombs

There’s a beach in San Diego where you can
drop your clothes like shed skin onto the black sand,

walk your tired, naked body into the open sea
and curl up under the froth, tumble like a rock

or stretch out and ride a wave as it curls over your head
like cut glass. You can float on your back and look

toward shore where the others are nothing but
fleshy gestures, more of the organism you were

born to and have broken from to test this salt
and solitude, this rushing silence beyond

the breaking waves, your heavy bones floating
between your faith in the human and the ruddy

horizon, that gate made of seaweed and pearls
opening under you, closing over you, asking for nothing

but your stillness, your breath, your small beating
heart, and when the great hinge rasps its welcome

you wake to hear them calling, look to see them
waving their tiny, sun-smitten arms. Blurred

by distance their formless forms merge and you
can hardly believe you are of them, your body

buoyant, set loose, relieved of its burdens,
its squalor and shame. And what brought you here

is what brings you back, not love or faith
but their fear and fragility, their voices cast out

against the deafening wind, splashing
toward you — so many — against the waves.