Maelströms: A Prose Collection
Excerpt below from “Houseboat Days (A Preface): Messina.“ Read the full collection at Nowhere Magazine.
I am blessed to wake up to the sun’s rays directly on my face, Mount Etna’s smoky peak, Branko tuning his acoustic guitar, no predictions of breakfast except by Maggie’s disappearance and what I have learned on other, similar mornings: you are staying with Canadians, and we will share pot after pot of coffee.
Huge swells of the first night kept me largely awake, rocking back and forth while I tried to find solid grounding—at sea, the constellations are what fill you. The swells have never been this big, the whole time we’ve been sailing. It’s a new moon, a lunar eclipse, Maggie said. Branko said there must be something at sea. Autumn’s grey solstice.
I pissed in buckets, just to stay out of the boats’ interior, where I would be locked in again (at sea, the constellations are what anchor you). I took gravol after gravol everytime I woke up my first night, returning to the only position—a near fetal pose—that the curve of the stern allowed.
An ancient town overlooked my sleeplessness. I could see Taormina from where I rocked, could see its lights and monastery and dry slopes that made it resemble North Africa. The same ruins I would stare into the next afternoon, excavated in light, after coffee and cards and swimming, music. The same ruins that boasted of amphora’s, statues—statuettes—anchors, and earrings—if Maggie was a jewelry designer, she would base her craft on the earrings in Taormina, she said. The same ruins that showed me my first fig trees, olive trees, avocado and banana trees.