The Chicago skyline leans in a smoky silhouette against the sun. Knee deep in lake tide, a small child with no shirt and a bandaged chin grins. She is city-born; hears trains clank on steel tracks and tires roll on concrete. She absorbs movement like it’s white noise, an electric fan kept on at night to fight lonely sound, silence. It is not lonely here. The lake pulses in a glistening blue. Waves swoosh in rhythmic pace and seagulls yip, swoop, and screech. Wind, always strongest by water, whistles and whooshes, knocks a girl off her feet.
From the shore, the girl’s mother and I share the sand. Before us, the girl digs her toes into the lake’s open palm.
She leaps over waves, drums her tummy, abandons her bones. Her eyes alight with molten iron. I’m reminded that all girls are born from Earth’s core, Mother’s womb. She moves like she hasn’t forgotten. She throws foam into the wide sky, tilts her face and hollers. A wild beast calls from inside her belly and she hasn’t been taught yet to tame it. In an instant, laughing, she becomes water.
I look at my feet. They are not water, but flesh.