Bayside at 3 A.M.

by Ingrid Lorenzi

She stares far off into the distance
and wonders if the boat has reached
the docks safely. The lighthouse
looks like a firefly in the storm,
its light weak and flickering. She hums and licks
the salt off her lips.

Three years ago, their lips
had met gently on this very same beach, the distance
between them a fraction of today’s. He had playfully licked
her mouth and then left a trail of kisses until they reached
her closed eyelids. That had been the last goodbye before he had stormed
away from her, a shadow under the lighthouse.

She walks towards the lighthouse,
Her pale lips
clenched together. She shivers against the cold of the storm,
but has her eyes firmly set on the distance
that separates her from the white tower. As she reaches
it, her face is wet from the licks

of the rain, licks
that have matted her hair to her scalp, drenched and dark. The lighthouse
watches her silently, its only eye flashing at intervals. She reaches
for her lost key in a navy-blue bag, a gift from him. Her lips
have started to turn blue too, cold and unfeeling. In the distance,
the feeble sound of the town’s bells is silenced by the storm.

She clenches the key between her fingers and opens the door, leaving the storm
behind her. The last gust of wind licks
her face as she closes the door shut. She begins to climb the dusty stairs, the distance
between her and the top of the lighthouse
getting shorter with each step. Nothing escapes from her lips,
but she lets her mouth twist in a grimace when she reaches

the yellow light. It shines too brightly, and as it reaches
her eyes she almost feels blinded by it. The storm
crashes violently against the thin glass of the windows, and she chases it with her lips,
open wide in a scream that goes unnoticed under the wind. Afterwards, she licks
her cracked lips and falls onto the floor, her hands covering her eyes. The lighthouse
stands immobile, like a silent guard, until the sky clears up in the distance.

With a slow step, she reaches for the windows. She looks down and judges the distance
between the rocks and the top of the lighthouse, and then storms
towards the glass. She closes her eyes. Wind licks her face again, and salt returns to her lips.

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