Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

Taunting The Sea

by Steven Utley

I dropped through a hole
in the fabric of spacetime
to stand on the shore
of a primeval sea.
The landscape’s chief features
were limestone and pond slime;
the world I had come from
was still waiting to be --

oh, waiting to be,
yes, waiting for me.

The moon sped along
the far rim of the ocean;
day pursued night --
I watched the stars flee.
It had something to do
with celestial motion --
if Kepler had seen it
he’d be dancing with glee,

dancing with me
yes, down by the sea.

The sea clutched my toes,
saying, “Hey, don’t I know you?
That salt in your blood
surely belongs to me.
You premature monkey,
there’re whole phyla to get through
before something like you
emerges from me,

crawls up from the sea --
just you come here to me.”

I jumped back through time,
straight home to tomorrow,
but as I was going
I taunted the sea:
“Have fun with your mollusks,
parting’s sweet sorrow,
I’ll check with you later
in an eon or three --

eon or three,
don’t wait up for me!”

© 2004 Steven Utley

In case you've never heard of him (and he doesn't expect that you have), Steven Utley is the author of two collections of verse issued by Anamnesis Press, This Impatient Ape (1998) and Career Moves of the Gods (2000). He's also the author of two story collections, Ghost Seas (1997) and The Beasts of Love, forthcoming from Wheatland Press, and of the perennially soon-to-be-finished Silurian Tales, comprising a couple of dozen loosely connected stories originally published in Asimov's, F&SF, Sci Fiction, etc. The Beasts of Love will mark his initiation into print-on-demand publishing -- another strain on his last-century sensibilities.

Find more by Steven Utley in the Author Index.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.