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"The Wrecking Ground, pt. 18" by Lee Huttner

"The Wrecking Ground" is an essay told in parts by Lee Huttner. We will be publishing a new part each week on our blog. Stay tuned!



xviii.

What are these traces, these faint marks, these vectors of telling that lead me astray? Leavings of twig and stone and weed.

Memory and desire join hands and leap. A lodestone twists the needle round, points, we look.

The historian as clandestine lover. The archive as sweat-stained sheets, a mattress still warm, panting breaths.

My being is provisional. So long as I remain at the shore, I am sustained in the present, I am alive. But there is a storm blowing. It drives me into rocks and sand. It breaks me open, shrapnel flies at my face, I bleed.

Lie down. Stretch your body atop the graves of those you would seek to awaken. Lay your body atop theirs. Wrap them in your limbs, your wings, your whole self. Kiss them, press them into you. This is the only way to awaken the dead whom the waves cast up limp and blue along the shore. Warm them. Press the sea from their bodies, lick the sand from their eyes.

The needle twists, spins, unguided. The ship sails on. Beneath the water, a hand takes mine.