How quiet outside at night with the crickets coming on and the sound of a fan somewhere, then something papery in the breeze, rainbow-colored wind socks, phantoms, deep sea creatures floating on a different speed, a dark, ancient voodoo, a scene from a horror film.
We walked down to the totem poles at dusk, all the stories it had to tell with arms crossed defiantly, smug secrets, bulging eyes—and Lily took selfies and stood there with the sky going pink behind her, they really see no badness in their posing on the phone: so purely and lovingly they look at themselves without fatigue and the storage size is endless, you can just go back and delete—
The first night we kept the blinds down but by mid-morning the sun came out and so did we and into the shops we spilled, and swiped our card many times.
The next morning I walked down to the water, the tide was coming on and it was all gray, the same as the sky, parts of it streaked where the sun was trying to get through but it was tough, the clouds woolen knots. The nearby islands and slabs of land like sleeping giants on their sides, burial mounds, stretched out timeless, unmoving as the gray, as the tide clapping the shore. Indistinct gulls, ducks, tiny heads popping out of the water, a seal so like the head of a human in its eyes. How the totem pole faces look to be hiding something, how you can go there in your mind with these small towns at dusk when everything closes down and the flag poles clap, and it’s just the breeze animating things, and all there is is this history, stories stacked on top of one another, silent.
In the restaurant on the cove everyone kept their hats on with faces ribbed like candle wax, the same look as the waves lapping in, stretched out and contoured, unclear if they’re coming or going.
There was a small balcony on the side where you could stand protected when it was raining and listen to it, and the arthritic pre-spring trees in the distance, their knobby fists…a bird landing on a wire and steadying itself, time for a tune before it flaps away…and the four of us in our car crawling across the island from south to north in our metal box, so like the bugs on the back of some beast, indistinct too, past a turn-off for Useless Bay, Charlotte asking what we’re going to do when we get there and me saying I don’t know.