A woman sits on the shore and waits to hear her name. When her name sounds, it is a spectrum of volume like a passing bee. She chases the bee into the sea and does the forward crawl in loops across the shining crests of waves. She gasps for air between long scoops of ocean until the sea is all around and the bee is far ahead. She flips and floats like the spread star of a sea-turtle. She looks at the sky and sees the ocean. She reaches into waves and touches nothing. For as far as she can see, there is no more bee, and that's when she turns to the sky and says, my name is ocean, it begins with sea. The bee flies back and lands on her forehead, the only place to rest.
I wake and swallow hope down my smooth pink throat. I steep grit tea in a cup and boil steel cut oats. I sauté the rusty kitchen mat and stuff it full of nails. The roof shifts like Maine rocks, and pans rattle from the tops of cabinets. I fry up flour with soap, salt, and pine nuts. I pour in baking soda, brown sugar, Tylenol PM, soy sauce — pour until the cabinets are empty and breakfast is served. I swallow hope and it gulls in my throat. When the shower spray comes down on my body I make sound, the rush flying down, and in the spray I say, Oh well, oh well, oh well.
Megan Roth was born in Alabama and now lives in Miami. She holds an MFA from the University of Miami and teaches at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. She is author of The Green Guide to Daily Living, and her work has been published in Opium, Elimae, DecomP, Thieves Jargon, and other journals. She has been a finalist for Best of the Net, the SLS Fiction Prize, and the James Jones First Novel Competition. Her website is www.mrothillustration.com.