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the glass room and the tanker

A large glass room jutting onto the beach. Behind it, a forest of trees, perfectly straight, symmetrical pieces of wood with the tops cut off, like logs stood on end. I stand and marvel at the design. I say approving words to no one else; no one can hear me because I am here and they are all in the glass room.

So many people I know in the glass room. I am reminding myself of how I know each of them when the ship appears at the horizon. An oil tanker, slick black and barnacled like I imagine whales to be, heads for the beach, for the glass room. It is bearing down too fast as its surface breaks, curves upwards like a fish.

Suddenly the tanker flops like a massive trout on a hook, rearing from the beach, disturbing the ocean in great waves that finally catch the attention of the people in the glass room: my people in the glass room. I run toward it as fast as I can, throwing myself against the glossy door as the black hull breaches the structure.

Glass, water, blackness and blue. “Hold your breath!” someone screams. As I gulp air, I wonder if those heroic words prevented her from surviving. After a few minutes submerged – how can it be so long? – I cannot find the surface. I decide the only thing to do is drown. I release my air in large, silvery bubbles, resigned and relieved, and watch them float away.

empty-handed

I dreamed of preparing to move away. Everything I owned had to be packed into suitcases and boxes. The sky outside was light but I knew it was nighttime. As I packed my clothes, they changed colors and shapes. Some of them hopped or crawled out of their containers. It was a losing battle. Finally I decided to leave with empty suitcases. As I was zipping the last one up, I looked down to see a necklace I lost a decade ago: an iridescent glass bottle shaped like a teardrop with a tiny cork stopper. I put the necklace around my neck and left, empty-handed and smiling.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.

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