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NONFICTION Torn


Flag by Camille Ward


The profiles of the people on the


beach wrapped in skin-licking bikinis and sarongs with Indonesian patterns and the man with his sunglasses on, reading the book but actually staring at breasts through tented lenses. They chat, sitting under pine trees that reach close to the beach.


Pine trees on a beach? They stand close enough to breathe


and drink the salt air and absorb life through the tourists’ eyes. These trees who drape the beach with their tall fixtures already know where they are in life but look to the human tourists as a sort of amusement.


To the left, the bird calls his friend,


and to the right, the engine roars and the race along the beach has rolled up tunnels of energy. It’s like the energy contained in human beings; it is constant in its roaring and eating of carrion.


Nothing will be satisfied in this way, yet


the ocean cannot retire and blame the ageing process.


The young man carries a pint of piss-


colored beer and walks out into the sun. He stretches his head upward and moves his shoulders back, the muscles in his back


44


accentuating his skeleton. Enough of the sun and turn position to lying down on the hotel- provided gray towel, eyes closed and facial expression appears as though everything is in its proper place, two-day beard growth included. He rests his arm on the plastic beach chair’s armrest.


Around his right wrist is a handmade


bracelet, likely bought on a street corner in Bangkok. He wears waterproof gray shorts, nearly knee-length. Some would consider him handsome, athletic. He appears to be in a slumber and is perhaps contemplating, or just resting, thinking of emptiness.


Those who spend hours in deep sleep


become a part of the world of slumber. The torn flag, colors red, white and


blue, wraps tightly around its pole, just as the domineering husband wraps his fingers ‘round his wife’s neck.


The holes and the torn bits and the


swells in the heart that subside only with time and yet this process still does not lead to the cure. A man in his navy-blue Speedo and plastic sandals walks underneath the torn illusion of a nation. He does not know where he goes.


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