Biking on shell-crunch beach steering around tidal pools, salt on the chain, grit between my teeth. Men on scaffolds are spraying noxious sealant, stucco walls losing the color of their ivory skin, fumes like a thin logic that dries on the tongue. I saw my father injured in a truck accident, his ten-wheeler on its side, wheels spinning, sand leaking from the hopper that empties into a revolving drum, mixing with water and cement, his days hardened into the path I stepped off long ago. The blood down the side of his face raspberry and sweet, I ride effortlessly, north wind at my back. A burning something rising into the sinuses, around my eyes, blurring vision like eyeglasses greased by fingerprints. He looks away. He slips out of himself. He’s gone. The spilled sand and blood spattering my legs as I pedal across a narrow channel.

John Allman | Mudlark No. 31
Contents | Reading Paul Gauguin