You'll Die
Conor Robin Madigan

Sea creatures from nets hang and gull spills guano over sand, runs to flight. Boats upside down on cement teeter below wharf and rowboats tie to rocks and nock. Brendon crouches near a bucket and handles an oyster with a knife. Shell-pile at his feet holds enough flesh to attract a gull. Not about sense, but sound, beak clicks, rowboat knocks, hollow. Brendon could close his legs on the gull, but for hunger he eats and watches it sort between his thighs. Stainless steel on oyster shell, Brendon's mouth and a gulp, search through a bucket of sharp oysters, gull wings' breath, windless anemometers. "Brat." Brendon closes his legs and catches just beak. Wings extend full. The gull hops back and its beak opens in one short ah. "So you say." Blond Mason comes and takes Brendon to glottal stop beach.

Once again, knees bleed as only chiton and stone cut, and puncture while Brendon kneels and watches thin bright blood spread to salt-water sweat stream, peach-red down his shins, feet, toes and stone. Low tide waves lap yards below cliff walls. Mason sheds her suit, and she taunts Brendon with a plastic pink comb through long blond hair. "You'll die," Mason says, her middle finger extends, "prick." Brendon spits on his palms and presses them upon his knees to mix salt, blood, saliva, andhe thinks: Mason's cum. He holds his palms before him, testament to his climb, his day.