EKPHRASIS : Art Describing Art : 2015
California Writers Club, Mendocino Branch : A Collaboration : Artists Co-Op of Mendocino
Writers Providing Works for Visual Artists Responses
Karen Lewis “Archipelago”
Provided work for the responding visual artist,
Karen Reynolds “Safe”
Archipelago by Karen Lewis
Anna’s heart surges after swimming five hundred meters to the island. Reef sharks had skimmed close in the lagoon although she hasn’t bled for two months. She is more afraid of the stormy-eyed man she’s abandoned on the mainland. She stretches onto rough sand, grateful for slender shade between two palms. If she hides until dusk, he’ll be gone. Wind rattles cobalt fragments of sky into thirsty dreams and shipwrecks. Crushed shells, their final, bitter quarrel, her unobserved plunge into the lagoon whilst he’d telephoned to book an afternoon flight despite a hurricane alert. This atoll, barely ten paces wide at high tide, is an idyllic postcard of paradise. No. Merely a celadon mirage, glittering with forgotten footprints and turtle nests. Splinters of palm tattoo Anna’s torso. She tastes salt and mineral-sweet blood on her wrist, scraped by coral during her swim. Scientists say that coral polyps will take root and colonize your skin. Anna imagines falling to sleep, allowing high tide to cool her, wash her, day by day, month by month, until the pearl within her quickens, breathes, cries. Or, until a coral reef devours her skeleton. Here, mermaids are born from broken hearts; they must learn to survive pirates and sharks, guided by indigo moons.