Children of the Moon, Chapter 13: Sea Change

In Miami Will sank into the city’s tropical soul,
savoring the cultural and culinary flavors,
but before long he took to the open sea,
sailing to ports in South America, Africa,
Asia, India, China and Malaysia

He heard the songs of genesis, exodus
and revelation in the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian,
Caribbean, Mediterranean, and the Persian,
South China, Arctic, Caspian
and the Black, Red and Dead Sea

On returning to Miami, he joined a crew
treasure hunting; the captain said:
there’s treasure down below, down below
in vaults, from pirate ships,
man o’ war, and Spanish galleons

Will and the other divers donned their gear
and fell into the sea’s salty embrace:
another world opened before them

In the beguiling hold of the sea,
Will explored a ridge of storm-swept sand,
and spotted the glitter of gold and silver coins
large as his hands; he scooped them up
and clutched them to his beating heart

Rising to the surface he felt a surge
of exhilaration, for the first time
since his brother’s sentencing,
and he thought, this is what life should be,
this is what can heal me.

He broke the surface, gasping for air
and rejoicing in the freedom of breathing,
he cupped his hands to hold the coins
to the sun, with a cry of elation,
ready to be amazed

In the full wash of daylight he saw
twisted bits of metal, wave-broken shells
and small change

On board he saw others with the same debris,
picking out coin-shaped metal;
when he challenged them, they shrugged
and sneered with a pirate’s wink:
If people believe it’s valuable, what harm?

The captain called Will aside:
You are causing disruption, undermining
the others’ belief, and we all need to believe;
behind Will’s back he whispered:
I think he’s stealing. Watch him.

Will packed his things to leave,
while only one man came to say goodbye:
an old treasure hunter, a grizzled veteran
who had once discovered treasure
that was real and knew the difference

He sighed as he told Will:
The dance of illusion will last as long as the truth
is hidden, as long as it is in our interest to comply,
deny and lie; but you have re-opened my eyes;
he shook Will’s hand: Go now, my headstrong friend.

Will fell into a stupor: everything was the same;
but change was all around him;
he breathed the sulfur of igniting despair,
and guilt was the thing that burned:
I am betraying Sandy by being away.

On her bunk bed Mira lay in oceanic darkness,
outside, wet black paws of rain fell,
scrabbling at the side of the house

The only light a single candle burning
beneath the windowsill, tight as infection;
with anguish and pride interweaving,
the way she braided her younger sister’s hair,
she thought of her dreams and her sister’s dreams

In her hand she held a postcard from Will:
a harbor city crouched by emerald water,
heat-blanched sky and lofty linen white clouds;
a sea change: she felt Will sequencing
away from her, away from love

Her father sat with her on the front porch
after the rainstorm had trooped away:
Remember, he said, Apaksi means hope;
and she nodded, and said she would,
but she felt the world drifting away

In the morning, Laurel and Mira waited
by Morris Rubra’s swinging gate,
fresh dew stinging their tense faces

He strode up to them, his gait light
and his face a landscape of relief,
his hands shaped like mittens

I’m trying to get Sandy’s sentence overturned,
he told them, and see if he will be released
or given a new trial.

Their voices sounded like bells, chiming
in unison: Do you think it’s possible?
Yes. He smiled. It’s a life-saving mission.

To read the Prologue, click here. You can follow the chapters from there.

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