Begin with a brackish union. Then breathe space into salt. Then peel away the shin.
Or start with a page of steam, an origami moon, a mirror stained into memory, a lonely guitar in a small, slight sleep.
Or open with the parable of the drunken master who drinks only from broken teacups, or the hermit who lives in the horsehead clouds, or the anchorite who sleeps in ryegrass on the banks of the river.
Or rise in the pre-dawn rustle, the church bells ringing along the line of the bay, the trance of hollowness that drives a town from sleep to the beach before sunrise. And there, an expanse of carcasses in the shallowness, a found flounder gurgling in your mother’s hand, your father rinsing the mouth of a tiny catfish, water choking other water into peace.
Overhear someone say, “I’ll never join an orgy which would have me as a member.” Overhear someone respond to consolation by insisting that loss affects everyone in equal proportion.
Or remember the dream of asphyxiation, when you held the groundfish denser than your wrist, as if holding a tumor and whispering, “What secrets do you hold?” as when your brother took you to the sea and whispered a song into your feet.
Or begin with the rotting heat of morning, when among the carrion, a type of day break, the seagulls’ caterwaul, the beach disappearing under the weight of its own sand.
Abbas Abidi received his M.F.A. from the University of Alabama. He currently resides with his family in Washington.