art by Melissa Mead
Ebb and Flow
by LaShawn M. Wanak
Megan doesn't want to leave the dock after the late shift is over. She lingers, standing with bare feet planted apart on the warped boards, facing the waves that lap across the water. I can imagine her toes growing longer, seeking out knotholes and cracks, stretching towards the murky water underneath. I fear one day I'll find her fully rooted, unable to come back home.
Up and down the shore, I can hear the murmurs of the other women, though it's too dark to see them. I can see the water, though, just below the edge of the dock. When I brought the flashlight earlier, the water wasn't so high. It unsettles me as much as the sky. I've stopped looking at the sky directly, but I can feel it spiraling above me, strange, unfamiliar.
As usual, the flashlight is switched off. With eyes closed and one hand resting lightly on her abdomen, Megan breathes in. The waves pull towards her. She breathes out--the waves fall back. It is rhythm and dance, ebb and flow, her presence combined with all the other women on the shore to do the work of our most powerful tidal generator, the moon, now drifting in chunks above us.
I don't want to break her concentration, so I stare at our wedding band on her finger. "I'm not giving up," Megan told me last year. "It's just a temporary gig, give my body a chance to heal." She tried to laugh it off. "I mean, come on, who'dve thought women's bodies could actually influence tides? At least my biological clock is good for something."