I am on my third hydrocodone for the day,
still in massive pain
as the fire pit comes to life
throwing its spastic light
over my swollen knees and
onto the storyteller’s face.

The breeze is coming up gently
off of the ocean,
cooling but not yet cold.

In the story tonight, a dog
swallows the tongue of a shark,
to the beach

and becomes, himself,
a shark.

New (old) meaning to
you are what you eat.

I’m reading your Facebook post
about Ramon from Ramona,
your childhood love,
your first true loss.

I’m looking out
over these darkening waves
thinking about how close we are
to throwing it all away.

A heartbeat away,
three teenagers
splash through the shallow waves
practicing their poses in the flash
of cell phone selfies.
One yells to the others
“Take a picture of our asses

I’m reading your past in the last
of the firelight
after the storyteller
has finished.

We share this ocean
though a world apart.

We share these voices
echoing over the waves that
rise and capsize
over the teenagers’ moonlit faces.

We share this ache,
this memory
and the way the tide
keeps bringing all of it back
to us.


C.C. Russell has published poetry, fiction, and non-fiction here and there across the web and in print. You can find his words in such places as Split Lip Magazine, The Colorado Review, and the anthology Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone. He currently resides in Wyoming where he sometimes stares at the mountains when he should be writing. He can be found on Twitter: @c_c_russell