We Awake
Meg Sefton

The tide pushes through the bottom of the door where we sleep on our mattresses. The water fingers our hair. It rises to the level of our windows and pulls us to sea where we rock upon the mournful waves, the seagulls distant and crying, our nightgowns soaked and sticking to us, our bedclothes heavy. We roll over, pressing our faces into saturated pillows.

We sleep through the day, the sun burning our throats, our foreheads, our lips. At low tide, the water leaves us on the beach. The crabs fashion the tresses of our hair and pinch our ears, but we dream of overprotective aunts and punishments. Our mother is crying but we can barely move or open our eyes.

It is dark again and a cool black wave, gently and firmly as a father, moves us into our room. We hear the gentle heaving sighings of waves, of giants, rumbling over, making us feel small and when we open our eyes, finally, to the night, we are not in water at all but are wakeful, dry, and blind.

Meg Sefton’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Writing 2011, Emprise Review, 971 MENU, and Dark Sky Magazine among other print and online publications. Her special obsession in life is water: swimming in it, sitting beside it, reading about it, writing about it, sailing through it. She wrote this while looking out on a pool that is beside a lake.

Artwork by Sean Craven.

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