Bronze shades of last light calm my fluttering eyelids.
Hues of red push through me,
Barreling past the locked iron that protects my subconscious.
Light breezes pulsate off the ocean.
Caressing my skin, they brush layers of salty mist across my face.
That wind brings goosebumps in its wake,
And they stretch along my follicles as memories creep up my legs
Like the purple and pink crabs that scrape and scuttle into the deepest crevasses of rock I trespass along.
They eye me from the shadows,
and watch my pulse change—
Depending on which piece of my past makes its way to the top of my forehead.
And watch as the coarse sand I’m sitting on gradually becomes the rock tide pools are made of.
Stretching past my toes, the surf-inundated stone melts into an ocean
That begs me to throw away the pennies I’ve collected from my life.
It’s a rough surface that beckons me to cast my past
Into the calm golden water that waits for the tide to come in,
Into the Safari orange sky that fades into the pinks and dark blues of coming night,
In between the tree shadows that give shape to the ridgeline above Avila Beach,
Into the waiting mouth of ugly brown pelicans, which stalk northbound schools of fish.
But I can’t bring myself to let loose of my change—
I can’t just throw them away into the soup of someone else’s time,
Rampantly give away my visions to the catch-all of the world;
A world that boils full of bare-boned carcasses, broken hearts, empty memories, and slimy fish.
It would leave me too empty,
Freeing up a hole I now knowingly fill with the past,
It would leave me without my dear, close-up view of what I had,
What I wanted,
What I thought I needed.
I can’t just release memory-stamped pictographs and voices into the unknown.
But I can leave them where I sit,
I can scoop them out,
Throw them to the ground,
Mix them with the broken shells and smooth pebbles beneath my feet and know:
Next time I come they will be here
Waiting with the sun.