by Kassie

Sand is more than sloughed rock and coral constantly washed up and away by waves. Sand can be a pivot for a life, to an engineer, a beachcomber, a person blinded by a stray fleck rubbed against a cornea.

I found crushed shells and sand in my carpet tonight. Lying on the floor to look out my window, to see what stars are visible from that angel, I encountered your debris. Grains stuck to the sweat on my neck and more pieces were pulled to my scalp by the motion of my hair bunching and rolling as I moved.

The sand could really be some I brought in, or left by any of the Trio when they wrestled and got drunk on my floor, but I imagine it falling from the cuffs or creases of your jeans. The jeans you wore while wading into the Pacific that dried crusted with salt. You complained of the chafing denim, the gritty, constant scratching on your burnt skin. I offered you a shower and a pair of my own pants.

I drank strong, Kiwi beer while you showered. When you called to me, I found you in a pair of shorts velcroed comically so that the top piece jutted out where you tried to cinch the waist. I watched while you chose one of my shirts, not directly offered, with no shame over pawing through someone else's belongings. You gifted me with a running commentary on how half the items were torn or covered in paint. I wondered then, when you picked up my Herdez CART shirt and started to enthuse over car racing, if you had been to boarding school, if you had lived the majority of your life with other men or boys, that privacy has no real meaning for you. Then I considered my internalized stereotypes of Englishmen. You kept on talking about F1 versus Cart, and you let me keep my own thoughts.

When you came back to the living room, trailing me, your own pants over your arm, sand out of your pants probably fell out of the stiff material onto my carpet. I didn't notice because I was trying to listen to what you were saying, trying to follow the curves of your thought.

Because you veer suddenly, like this: "You take more pictures of Elijah than of me." Which is true. It's easier to be objective about composition when the imagine itself isn't a source of unbalance.

You helped yourself to a beer, just one more in a trail of cans and bottles you left all over the island that day.

"He's photogenic." Which is true, but not the truth I think you deserved. I wanted to tell you I have poems about you, words as real as negatives and prints. But you seem the same with me as with your other friends when I look for subtle hints. I'm still trying to name what you are, if you think us intimate. I don't know you well enough to judge, having no real world baseline to measure your behavior against. And I've made badly timed declarations before. I fight shaping people into tight bundles easily labeled and therefore dehumanized, unspecific and just one example of category friend or potential ex. But the human mind works in patterns.

"Come bungee jumping with me. To photograph me." You smiled, and you're an actor, well trained, all I saw was enthusiasm for adrenalin and mugging for the camera. But that could be my blindness, my own inability to read you, too. There is always the object and the subject, and with you I never know which one I am. Or in what position you see yourself.

So now I lay in the sand I that believe you left, and I remember you falling while tethered earlier today. And I didn't need to leap, even when you goaded me, because you may be pulling me into some other oblivion, the kind where the safety of a cord affixing you to everyone else's world doesn't exist.


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