She is made of voices.
Thunder from the breakwater. Sand scrawled by currents. My breath. The unheard pressure of darkness.
She is voices and they wash over my skin.
You are in the dark. Held by the press of water. The rhythm of surf, the open-shut of bivalves.
Time is the steady pump of your blood, your breath through an umbilical. You wash your limbs through the fluid, you kick toward the brightness, an opening.
It is time for us to change.
We can smell death in the water.
The tide is carrying us toward it, along the thick scent line, a trail of blood.
How long have I been here?
The fish school whorls. To stay is to die. The black water below, the heavy embrace.
To stay is to die. My lungs, my heart will not allow it.
I shoal to the light.
Slowly or my blood will boil. Upwards, her grip loosening. How could she let me go.
I was made of her.
This is the only world. This is its edge.
Need in our guts drawing us on. Her surges push us out, away from the deep.
Bright pain in a dark passage.
Your eyes are clenched shut.
What you go towards, you don’t know.
You must go.
Roar of wave on rock.
We scrape our bellies on bone hardness.
Fins push us up.
You are pressing through.
She holding you tighter than ever.
Crossing from her to openness.
My saline blood.
The heartbeat of her swells.
Crush of sea breaker, then release. Air on your skin, dry and cold in your raw lungs.
Ragged mist far above. The baking heat of the unsheathed sun. We are on the boundary.
She heaves forward, carrying us, tearing at the stone.
Bodies, struggling on the strand, abandoned by the tide.
A cry from your belly breaks the surface of your throat.
Weightless sky over me. Waves around my legs, awkward fins in the sand.
Shambling toward shore.
Your lips latch onto her breast. Rich fat flows over your tongue.
Our teeth in the flesh, blood running thick, filling our throats.
What am I now. My skin drinks the air.
We are different than we were.
She holds you close when you cry in the night. Changed, new, not alone.
We claw up from her darkness, but always return.
Your blood is hers.
By this threshold, I am made.
Robin V. Robinson’s In the Liminal is a photographic series providing intimate suggestions of our place in deep time and our liminal existence on the planet. The series reflects on the Earth’s origins, our own lineage from the ocean, our physical and spiritual presence, and the future of humans being. The original unique silver gelatin prints were created using an analog and unpredictable alternative darkroom process. Selected images were exhibited at the Monterey Museum of Art in 2018.