A Tale of Herring Do

She was still reeling from errant seagull attacks. That would certainly teach her to keep anchovies in her pocket. She tried rinsing her jacket in the bay water but couldn’t get the stink off, so she resigned herself to smelling like a bag of overripe fish for the duration of her walk to town. She’d try to find a cheap jacket at the Redeemer Family Light thrift store, “where all your purchase dollars go to our Heal the Poor ministry and job training center.” Hell, with the stench wafting up strong and feral from the front of the coat pockets, she might as well ask what kinds of benefits they might have available for her. If the threadbare hoodie and torn gloves weren’t enough to have a charity take pity on her, the herring breeze which dogged her steps like hound dog in heat might do the trick.

All photos created by Michele Montserrat


The world begins with the silky, susurrating, soothing sound of “ssssss” water falling, mothered and held, a breeze moving reeds gently, their leaves and plumes gently grazing and sounding soft and rhythmic. The word is whispered and I turn in silken shroud of sheltering arms, her arms, holding and keeping, and holding and keeping, and holding and keeping me safe and cool.

I list and rest swaddled in her scent, she my ground and I her center. The dappled light, bright and resting dark by turns. Rich and wide, this sea of her love moving, and I within it, moving and drifting safe and whole. Her skin, I drink it in, warm and freckled and fruity.

Rooted, wild, languid and free, the belly uncoils in gladness. I move and breathe and have my being in this new and always known. My momma. My Donna, the Madonna, and I, the child. I arise from her in wholeness, it is enough.

I pluck my arm out, the fingers pudgy tendrils like a vine inside her elbow. Reaching up to touch that space on her lovely cheek, and I’m babbling as a bellows of love and fire. Broken upon her loving gaze, open and infinite and rolling as wind danced grass underneath the creamy sunshine of early summer.

Like butter spread on my tongue, I speak words of flavor that slip and nourish and I am heard for the first time. Colors and sounds fly out of my mouth, monstrous speech, gargantuan and pure: