Mine remind me of dog paws, and how they look nothing like them. For one, mine don’t have individual pads on them resembling a grapevine of engorged wood ticks, and the obvious fur and claw on a dog paw combine to resemble what a lower demon might reveal as it climbs out of the earth from straight out of hell. Not like my slabs, which as they climb over the edge of the tub reflect the wrinkled bottom of a baby too long in his diaper.

The fortune teller I went to once while at York Beach in Maine, just up the street and over the border from here, must have known it was going to be my life’s mission to evolve into a baby when she studied the palm of my hand, and, noticing a broken, second marriage line, deduced that I was always going to be committed to a spiritual kind of nakedness the infant knows how to sit beyond comfort for.

After the reading, I got some taffy, and, while chewing it in what I’m now picturing as a kind of slow-motion, I looked out over the beach and ocean and thought to myself in my own 15-year-old kind of way how staring at somebody’s hot aunt in a pink bikini until I could practically feel their sand-covered chest underneath my chin made sense, in a primal fig-eating monkey kind of way. The hope that one day these squares might hold two beautiful balloons like that in the back of an arcade seemed so monumental.

Like the shark in the water that eats the seal, which turns the water red, these two mitts seem to represent a part of me that prefers to swim against the shoreline of ordinary, mundane consciousness for what will simply keep me reaching, keep me wanting to come up from underneath awareness, and opening with an attempt at soft, rubbery adult conversation, plant myself around an unsuspecting, play-distracted type moment, that, on the one hand, sunsets into something always a little psychologically horrific, and on the other, feels like just another kind of holding of how I know that to hold onto anything is to lose it.

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