The sea is not far. I know where it is, darkness inside a darkness, washing its wet skirts up the sand, lapping, lapping, passionless, with no memories – with fish for a soul. The sea is close but memory is closer, closer than the dripping night. At least it stays back, beyond the lighted squares of the dining room windows. I long for memory like I long for the wordlessness of dark waters – each recollection slips from the clothes of its formal reserve, from the language that enwraps it, from its restraint in time, and pulls me out of mine: a night when I fell sick and Sara doted over me loses its label “three years ago,” and the file “Taiwan” tips off the shelf and drowns me with particulars, sensual details, the anguish of moments not to be reeled back from the deep, but only felt there, quivering, straining on the line: the bowl of noodles her over-hasty foot knocked over on the floor as I lay on the bed. Then my annoyance, even in fever. And now I know the meaning of that moment, in a tremor through the line this long after: that her foot was clumsy with a love sincere.
There was a time she would do anything for me. It was not enough. Or – she was too close. Or --. . . Now she will never be closer than the panes of a dining room window, if the past is a wet night, and longing the line in my hand, running far out, to a sea I know is there, darkness in a dark sky.