The sun marked him as her own while he was still young and tender, a naive fisherman living in a wattle and daub shack by the sea. He offered up his naked back to her as he hunched over his long fishing pole, pulled up his traps, cast out his nets, and she tanned it like leather, black and gold. While he was still young, it was already too tough to feel any caresses but hers.
One midsummer the heat was too intense, and his woman died of it – sunstroke. When they lived together, she would peel the flaking skin from his shoulders as thin as the papers she used to roll his cigarettes. He took to spring dreaming. A creature too radiant to look at began to visit him in his hammock, would set it swaying in the cool night air, and tickle his nostrils with the scent of jasmine, and wake him up damp.
Dried out, salted, wizened, and leathered, an old man turns his watery eyes upward, blue from blindness, and gazes longingly at the sun.
Victoria Giang is a writer based in Taipei, Taiwan where she is studying for a Master’s degree in Asia Pacific Studies. Her work has appeared in both Chinese and English in Toxic Weeds, Diamond Drain Cover, and Literary Shanghai. She edits her own bilingual zine, Frisson, which features contributions by women writers, artists, farmers, folklorists, seamstresses, and filmmakers, among others. She once built a house out of straw.
Find Victoria at facebook.com/frissonzine or on Instagram at @frisson.zine