She would be sitting by the Mediterranean
at sundown, the sky as red as Campari,
singing, or maybe sharpening her cutlery
on a large stone. She would eat black olives
as she watched the burning sea, its lashes
opening and closing at her feet, its stories rising
into evening before pulling away its long skirt.
A hurricane lamp would cast shadows
on the sand with its bright flame. Some nights
she would talk to the flame, ask it probing
questions as if all flames were related.
Other days she would just laugh, shake her head,
whisper the names of her enemies
while collecting bits of sea glass to rub
between her thumb and forefinger, one for each
word God spoke to her. Green for “daughter”,
brown for “pity”, white for “Orleans”.
But most often, she would talk to the sea,
its curling fingers of foam, its fists of water
like a woman climbing out of ash and bone.