Melancholic Horror c. 2007

November 28, 2010

He holds the baby that drowned in a bucket dripping and dangling by its broken bucket-handle arm. The children he found in the river make a bloated stack in the corner of the yard. He’ll go to the river mouth tomorrow and stand where the water moves in two directions, salty and sweet, up to the knees and look out into the sea. He’ll wear polarized sunglasses and the glare won’t bother him. He’ll go out waist-deep and deeper. And he’ll look beneath the surface, past the glare that doesn’t bother him. When he sees one with the hem of its nightgown caught under a rock, he’ll reach with his toes and unhook it. When it floats to the top he’ll gently turn its face to the sun, peeling the wet hair from its eyes, letting its heaviness dissolve in the water. He’ll watch the hair swim around the head. It will seem almost formless, like shadow, and it will move like smoke. He’ll push the body with his fingers along the surface. He’ll brace himself for the moment its weight comes back into it from above, striking his forearms an spilling excess in small waterfalls down the white cliffs of the nightgown. He’ll bare it solemnly all the bright walk to the house, but once he reaches the door he’ll let the child slip down between his arms into a sopping pile on the porch. Though, perhaps, anticipating the unbearable thud, he’ll manage to catch its wrist before it hits the ground, probably breaking its arm at the shoulder.

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