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  • The Fat Man Who Stands in the Sea
  • Kerry Hardie

I am sitting in the hollow of a dune watching a squat fat man stand in a glitter of water I think he is not a swimmer but he wants to be in the water he stands against the wide pale sea, almonds of light spill as the low wave lips and turns over it is hot and blue, he wants to be in the water, figures move over the strand, the small fat man, his domed belly, he has walked a long way down the long smooth strand he has a opened a blue towel onto the powdery sands, he has folded his clothes, he has walked out into the water and stands there, looking down, surprised at his want, surprised by the feel of the waves running over his feet, the joy, unexplained, the little fresh movements of water, as pleased and as lulled as a child, as I am as pleased and as lulled watching him ease himself toward the mysteriousness of water, this swimming is a strange activity, as strange as fish and full of longing, strange as this summer of heat that's pasted butterflies on all the walls, like opened leaves, this summer that's opening us in water, in longing, in the shiningness of day, half Ireland splashing and paddling and strolling so it would lift your heart to be here, in this romp of folk, with the sun and the small wind and the fat man who stands in the sea.



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