Alternate Histories: 10/14, 10/14, 10/15, 10/31


Because of where I live, the disappearance of my home. I live in Wellfleet–we’re not on a FEMA flood zone, but we’re damn close.


I live in Gloucester, MA, right on the edge of a river and there’s the ocean on the other side. I realize the disappearance of the cove, being swallowed up by water. I can’t see it but I know it’s happening … It’s just a beautiful place. It’s just insane to think about.


I’m anxious about changing weather patterns and disappearing coastal wetlands. I grew up on the Gulf Coast and that’ll disappear if climate change continues.



As soon as they got home, G and V and O walked the bounds of the places they loved. O had to take a plane to do it, and then walk through water and muck, ankle-deep, knee-deep. He took a garbage bag with him, collecting plastic debris and crying as he went. V touched rocks at the waterline. G picked ticks from her skin after brushing past the beach grasses. Each year they do this now, walking the new line and the old line, noting the growing distances between them, learning their scabs and leaks, their places of surprising strength.

The ghosts of places replace places. At the hallow of the year, the old contours of the land and water hover over the new ones, almost solid, almost real, and that’s where people go. If they have to wade, the able-bodied carry on their backs anyone who can’t keep upright in the heavy surf. If they have to go in boats, they go in boats–more people who live on the coast are better at boats now, more intimate with the unruly muscle of the water, the big live animal that sometimes lashes out in pain.

When they reach the sites of their old homes, or their grandparents’ homes, or their great-great-grandparents’ homes, they let down the sounding lines. As the weights touch the bottom, the hills, the inlets, the insects, the clam flats, the bird tracks, the blades of grass become present to them, known to them. The air smells like soil as well as salt. They stay as long as the old land stays, rocking with the water. When it subsides, they leave their home to go home.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s