Mastic Beach Haibun or, My Son vs the Apocalypse by Rick Hollon
CW: Climate anxiety
Whenever I see my son he wants us to root our feet in the longshore sweep of current. He laughs when I leap from the Atlantic cold, and he refuses to budge when I tell him his feet will ache and burn when warmth swims back into them. I don’t know what he thinks about when he braces against the waves. He enacts something I’m not privy to, the same game repeated since he was three. My son wants to be a millionaire. He wants to become so famous that shoes get named for him. I think he equates wealth with safety, fame with being immovable. You can’t be evicted when you’re famous. Your mom doesn’t take you to live with her Nana because she can’t afford anything else. I think his mom is embarrassed by how poor we are. She buys him Jordans and takes him to look at Lamborghinis when I’m not there. When I’m not there, I stare at the nightlight in a bedroom four states away and wonder if I should be training him for the apocalypse. But how do you prepare for a new atmosphere? When I was his age, I thought we’d all live in grand underwater domes named for Jacques Cousteau. When he is my age, I wonder if there will be oxygen. I wonder if there will be plankton in the Atlantic. I wonder if he will ever be my age. A wave comes and he wants me back out there with him, so I shut my eyes and bare my teeth and I stand with him, for a little while, shouting at the wind and the sea and welcoming the cold, while I can.
we let the sea rise
feet rooted immovable
Rick Hollon (they/them or fey/fem) is a nonbinary, intersex, bi/queer writer from the American Midwest. Feir work has appeared or is forthcoming in perhappened, Whale Road Review, HELL IS REAL, The Madrigal, Stanchion Zine, Kaleidotrope, and other publications. Find them on Twitter @SailorTheia.