October 8, 2015 Comments Off on The Melting Of Glaciers and Ice Sheets By Audrey Knight
The wave crashed into the valley before daybreak, when the sky was blushing at the seams and the mockingbirds were laughing in the windows of a quiet house. Silver albacore surfed the swelling crest and thunder from the wave tumbled half the mountain, waking the family drooling on their linen shams, toothpaste kisses crusting their cheeks.
“Mudslide,” mother called as she jumped out of bed, stubbed her pink toes on the empty crib holding laundry, and grabbed her cellphone and purse. Her husband broke off his snoring and used both hands to haul the gun safe to the top of the stairs. Their son scratched his balls and the rough stuff on his cheeks, rubbed sleep from his eyes, opened the door to the roof, and stepped into the rising tide.
The waters followed Mother up the stairs and grabbed her by her bony ankles, pulling her with the current through the window. A Fiji mermaid, she twirled around and between the swinging downspouts, clutching at trinkets as the water carried them from the drowning house. Wooden blocks and stiletto shoes. A bottle of wine sank into the flowerbed before she could catch it. Her head popped up above the water along with empty Tupperware. She caught an eave with her feet and climbed between the hip and valley before the water pried away the rain gutters.
Her son and husband were already on the roof, standing on the chimney and shouting at the ocean. Her son jumped up and down, clapping his hands with each crunch-crash-groan-gurgle of the breaking house. Released from the walls and rooms below, the roof bobbed atop the rising water. A whale surfaced and blew, making her son squeal and her husband scramble with the safety on the shotgun. He’d be damned, he said, if he lost that meat.
Mother sat crisscross applesauce on the shingled ridge, eyeing her phone for service. Water dribbled from the mouthpiece. Her breasts grew hot and her nipples tugged against her shirt.
“Not now,” she told them.
“What was that?” her husband asked.
“My milk is coming down, but I can’t nurse up here — like this — where is the baby anyway?”
“Didn’t you get her?”
Mother sighed, pictured her infant swimming with the dolphins and said it must remind her of the womb, if only the water weren’t so cold.
© 2015 Audrey Knight
Audrey Knight is a writer and illustrator living in Los Angeles. Originally from Texas, she draws inspiration from parched memories of a childhood spent running barefoot in 100 degree summers. More of her work can be found at www.audreyknight.com