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   The dark-skinned man is standing before Miranda on the pebbles. In this short time the rock pool has changed temperament. Waves rush up the sides of their prison, propelled from behind, frittering and spilling downward. The rock walls lie in bare runnels until the next surge. The water is a foamy heaving blue.    Look, I’ve had my swim. And the waves are rather rough now, don’t you think? Perhaps we could meet here tomorrow.    Miranda wonders if he is the local fruitcake with a grim set of family circumstances. He indicates that she drop her towel.   Swim now. Avec moi. With me.    She thinks of running but knows she will be pulled down, dragged by her ankles. She feels patches of distinct fear, liquid in her gut, then imagines she hears voices – finally – from the ridge. But there is no one. She follows him, resisting the urge to sob. When the water is waist-deep a wave nearly knocks her over and he is there again, righting her. She says a brief merci, wondering whether the old gays will look up from their classical novels to see their swollen bodies. Or whether it will just be her own torn frame.    They paddle off the shelf. *    Heaving, Leo shifts gears as he pedals along a flatter stretch. Bleached grass flanks the roadside, mildly tossed and everywhere. Far below, the coastline engineers a series of spectacular peninsulas, all luminous with luxury homes, while inland the dry geology has produced erratic spurs and hostile terrain where the views are broad and tenebrous. Leo looks up the hill to the village settled on the rock. He knows the white façade of the church and its disappointing interior like a cracked Sicilian bathroom. He knows the wisteria-laden bar over the valley folds where they serve a rosé even at this hour of the morning.    Just before he reaches the town Leo feels his body become tingling and blotchy. He dithers, no longer the man clutching these handlebars, beginning to wobble on the bike. What washes over him fills him with despair. The things he thought so smoothly before – his corpse on metal, the soul in flight – he does not want them now. Not now, not ever this.    He has time to pull over and dismount the bike, throw his head between his knees. But it is too late, his vision goes to white and his head pushes into the dirt and he senses his body clunk sideways, the bicycle rattling to the ground. He enters a world of breezes too soft to decipher. *    Miranda feels his foot stroke hers. He is a beautiful swimmer, so pleasedwith himself in the water. He circles her, dunks under, bursts forth beside or behind her. She is crying because she doesn’t know 78

LIJLA Vol.2, No.1 February 2014

Profile for Sacred Heart College

LIJLA Vol. 2 No. 1 Feb. 2014  

Short Fiction/Poetry/Visual Arts/Tanka by James Wall, Shanta Acharya, Billy O'Callaghan, Henry Stindt, George Szirtes, Kala Ramesh, Catheri...

LIJLA Vol. 2 No. 1 Feb. 2014  

Short Fiction/Poetry/Visual Arts/Tanka by James Wall, Shanta Acharya, Billy O'Callaghan, Henry Stindt, George Szirtes, Kala Ramesh, Catheri...

Profile for lijla
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