Three Oceans by Walter Bjorkman

A dream of eerie, oddly-shaped fish dominated my sleep some nights as a child. Afraid and rapt with wonderment, I could not tear myself away, awaken on will as with other frightful ones. I was slowly suffocating, descending deeper into waters that somehow remained just as clear, and although each non-breath seemed to be my last, it went on and on, intensifying in its awful fascination and constriction on my lungs, until some external factor woke me.

I worked the waters of Miami’s gritty river for ten years, sometimes in the cramped hold of a millet-filled ship, where the grain for the hungry Haitian poor was piled everywhere. It got into my lungs, it provided slip-relief, like sawdust, from the oily floor. I also worked the gleaming docks of the shimmering Biscayne Bay where Americans came to bathe in the false hope of the Caribbean, hoping for some days of freedom.

Working in the spacious cruise ship laboratories with their white surgeon’s suits and fresh paint, I couldn’t help but wonder about the disparities — the Chief Engineer, a man of distinction, the scow captain a man of disrepute.

Then the pure joy of stopping by a Mami-Papi comedor, soaking in fresh-fried maduros where this conflict of Miami faded away into nothingness.

Now I think of neither but see an azure sky casting diamonds on red coral specks in the sands, and dream of the white foam of a wave receding from your breast.


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Filed under Walter Bjorkman

9 responses to “Three Oceans by Walter Bjorkman

  1. Walt, you amaze me. Your work spans so many places and planes and personas. Just lovely.

  2. This is just super, Walter. I love the flow of it, the process, the language.

  3. len kuntz

    wonderful. beautiful way to land the plane.

  4. John Riley

    What an interesting twist on the theme. Some great imagery. Love “where this conflict of Miami faded away into nothingness.” Enjoyed.

  5. Michelle

    You could not have done a finer piece for our grand finale, WB. Love this here. This one will stay with me.

  6. This is just gorgeous and melancholic in a very pleasing way. A beautiful read!

  7. This is a fine piece, Walter. A very mindful snapshot. Last line is my favorite.

  8. Kelly

    ah, very nice, Walter – thanks for this, for words that call my attention to the many qualities of oceans

  9. Pingback: Week #52 – Threesome | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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