Tomorrow I’ll wake to the ether and seek the color of her in the darkness. Buttery red, the flush of pale skin mid-laugh. Her essence will be my only guide back to the earth, where I will take the form of wind in Spanish moss. Where she goes I will go. What she feels I will feel. She falls in love each day with her chosen one, and I will occupy rejection as though trapped in the hull of a boat, listening to the music and dancing above me. I hope she makes her happy. I’d hate to float through their shared life if it becomes miserable. Although, perhaps I will be able to provide her some comfort in ways I couldn’t while alive. I will manipulate the sunlight to shine on her face, I will play leaves across her path, ensure the rain never chills her, the wind never scorches her cheeks or nose. One way or another, I will continue to love her.
I don’t believe in angels, but I’m certain ghosts fill the marshes with their breath, the crabs scatter at their feet, and the burdens they bear bend the reeds. If not with her, I will haunt the swamps. Maronage will be my eternity and I will play in the pluff mud with the snails and serpents, one with the decay and growth of those living things the heartless humans despise. I will climb the reeds with the periwinkles. I will tunnel with the ghost crabs. I will wade endlessly aside the great egrets and at last learn the secrets of silent splashing.
The marshes where my mother molded me will again become my home. At least I will be at peace if not loved. When invisibility doesn’t suit, I can cover myself with silt and raze the swamp as an apparition of dissolution. The creatures won’t mind, I will be one with them. My limbs will lengthen and split, my palms will curl inward into great claws, my skin will harden with salt, my eyes shrinking, my nose withering and falling off. I will claim the ghost crabs as my heirs, we will rule the underworld of the marshes and the tides will be ours alone. Somewhere, she will feel the rhythm of the moon shift, she will be called to the ocean, where she will feel the sands tremble, and I’ll be there beneath her feet.