«–i] [MMX.iX.Viii] Heather Palmer: Crimped, Gunwales Under [+i »

1. Peeled Back

Months and days curl at their ends into nights. Sharks fester ‘round the raft and salt-wounds ripple over skin of Bebe Faye and Platt. Sea algae surround a boat more a forest until a day where distant ships spot wanderers and sail forward in rescue. When asked if the shipmates needed help Bebe Faye and Platt were confused. They looked into the eyes of the fearful on the bigger ship and asked each other who they thought they were? Surely they could not see why such a ship would be in need of so much assistance. Overhead gulls and eagles fly and Bebe Faye knows this flight signals land. For this reason she steers the boat back to sea and Platt, orchard-busy, never cares enough to take issue, nor does he want to know.


2. Blush

Full trees yield a battlefield of apples the birds take to. Into the trees Bebe Faye climbs with her string to tie to the ends of the birds. To snare them, she says, to set a trap. She ties to their feet twine and pulls them their fall from the tree to her cooking pot.

-Dinner tonight, she says to Platt, who kneels before a Senshu, will be apple over gull.

Platt thinks of the eye he will obtain when the land finds them. He thinks of the land that will find them. He thinks of how far the land is and who steers the land away. He looks at Bebe Faye with such hungry eyes she tell him to quiet his look.

-It is dangerous what you are thinking. Be happy, Platt, that you even have a core to peel. -I’d rather we were on Beatrice Looking Forward.

With open palm to cheek Bebe Faye slaps Platt into deep red. He takes by her wrists her arms and grips. They stand locked until a single shark circles and Bebe Faye, too excited to remember her predicament, whispers to Platt her wishes.

He slides from her pocket her knife to slash shark flesh. Together they pull the fish aboard and gut it.

-Forgive me, Faysie Bebe Faye opens her palm for the knife.


3. Lost At Sea

With miles of blue around Platt fosters an insatiable desire. This desire he cannot name nor project onto the sea, so he jumps in. Bebe Faye allows him immersion. When he returns he shouts -Emptiness! into a trail of smoke lifting from Bebe Faye's desalinated water. On a mound she sits Indian-style, silent until Platt salts his apple-blistered hands. -Just tryin' forget yourself awhile. What's an orchard for?


4. Exposition

On the water sun glistens wave crests alight a glow of night before storm. Fish go under a deeper current and leave shallow waters for gulls to suffer starvation. A distant cliff proves another land to steer away from, bird as warning of close calls. Bebe Faye climbs algae trees to see better the coming rain, the sun a gloomy red to fall into the ocean. Standing below, Platt prepares string to kill bird, abandons fishing for fowl. His orchards sway with the winds Bebe Faye feels heavy her back, her body rested in the limbs. When she thinks of the land she will not steer herself from she thinks in shades of green and brown. All the blues of the sky swarm the ocean to storm her mind before the rains. At night she cannot tell between dreams and sight. Which reality leads back to sea?


Palmer Crimped Gunwales

Heather Palmer writes sentences into books. Currently she edits for Monkeybicycle, a magazine affiliated with Dzanc Press. Her book works include Charlie’s Train (the2ndhand) and the forthcoming novel Complements: of Us (Spork Press). She writes and works in Chicago. Read her work at

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