Some people believe we create our own futures. I 
mean, they believe this as if I did not just drive 
clear around the bay from the nursing home where my 
mother is dying — where my mother has been dying 
for three years. Those people, they could look around 
this oceanside cafe, they could gaze out at the ships 
and sit back in their creation. And I would love 
to lean back with them, but I can’t truly say there 
was ever steel blue water in my dreams as a child. 
Left alone often, batting rocks behind the tenement 
on Lowell Street, I can’t say as I caught the winds 
from Colombia or farther, where I developed a taste 
for this baba ghanouj and dark coffee. Where I come 
from we did not have sea gulls circling. We circled, 
in the night with chalk around buildings. We beat 
the bricks with our words and cooped pigeons. When 
we let them go we were certain of their return. 

The only thing I can think of in my childhood that 
resembles this slow seaweed and its continuous 
soughing against the dark wood pilings is my mother’s 
brandy. How it came out of the cupboard every night, 
how the night could be rough and endless. And I did 
have a sense of salt as a child. I think the salt 
was collecting then in the folds of the robes of the 
nuns who taught me. It wasn’t a salt you could see, 
it was a salt you could feel, like the salt in this 
fog. You could almost hear it settling. Beyond this, 
I can give no explanation and I can see no other logic. 
All I can say is yes, I was angry, no, I never really 
wanted either of us to suffer.