Issue #14 |


Together you and Juliette spray footprints. Get to the spot, drop boards on sand. Sky dawn pink, she waxes, you yank up your wetsuit, secure hair, which she never does, leaves it down, of course. Plunge into surf, the first shock of cold creeping to skin. Too stunning all around now for that ugly feeling you get.

Sway in the shallows. Three boys, juvies. Rocking, like slow breaths in and out. Suspended ballet in tidal salt. Staying together. Not venturing too far from shore, too deep, where you might make a meal for a twenty-footer. The sun penetrates, undulate like a trance. Breaking waves a rhythm. Below, sand swirling. Always a little hungry. But not too much today. Dive to the floor, rise back up over and over. Very aware.

You lie on the board, breasts and pubic bone sore. So much surfing. Cheek against gritty wax, arms suspended in frigid water, just down shore from not-now-wilding boys, whom you can’t see, though they know about you.


To read the rest of this story, please purchase a copy of Issue #14 or subscribe to the magazine

Susan Shepherd’s writing has been published in the Boston Globe, Ploughshares, and the Chicago Quarterly. Her work as a producer and reporter has aired on NPR’s Living on Earth, PRI’s Marketplace, and on multiple daily NPR shows. Her short fiction podcast 11 Central Ave aired in Morning Edition on NPR-affiliated stations around the country. The …

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