How they appear: tunneled vision in a brackish world. But they weave through it, ambient, loose as the drops that brush their skin, slick colony of mists. Or do not weave. These snaking vines, these luminous passersby who quiver and blink in strange upstagings don't form obstructions to a path, but mark details in an intimate landscape, one that, though vast, in practice is always narrowed . . . Minutiae abound, things small as the tip of an eyelash, which the fish might gulp, for inside lies the way to another world of blood, fanned bones, cold pearly spears around which scales furl armor. Slits for breath, sleek passageways, flutter life in beats, the rhythm of their keeping. Where they exist: this pulse they are hinged on, this harsh gill music. In colorless fog, or where a billion hues confound, they can settle on the island of that breathing, hold fast to the stone of it as the great mouth churns, each wave one ring of truth the sea itself extends.
From Woman Reading to the Sea by Lisa Williams. Copyright © 2008 by Lisa Williams. Reprinted by permission of W.W. Norton. All rights reserved.