Starfish Island

On the night ocean it looked like one of these beasts in the deep dark that make their own light. A net of red, blue, and green, it rolled with the waves. Pontoon to barrels to patched lifeboats to packets of foam, an makeshift island constructed with the detritus of cities. Leathery soles pounded on planks of fuselages and billboards. Music pulsed, threading past shanties of corrugated plastic and pieces of garbage. Men and women, heavy with fermented grape, swayed under the vegetable garden trellis strung with fairy lights, their sun darkened fingertips brushing plump tomatoes and cucumbers. By the watermelon and grape vine wall played the band, an old rasta on guitar and vocals, a Slick Sid beatnik hooting the sax, Kid Awesome banging on the trash can drums, and Lady Shred riding bass. Behind the watermelon and grape vine wall volunteers pedaled furiously bicycles strung up to a generator, the island light waxing and waning with their effort. Children ran through the sweetsmelling ganja garden to fish alley and threw thin lines baited with fat buzzing insects into the gentle waves to occasionally pull in a silvery scalehound with squeals of delight. The moon painted its single sight on the starfish shape of humanity’s perseverance and watched families sling sleep sighing children into fish net hammocks and sink into a dream of wind before the bicycles whir into silence and the lights fade out in the sea salt air.

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