waves hunch

Amy heard the chanting first while the family sat in silence before the closed white oak coffin. This was their private time and she resented anyone breaking in like that. Richard had come back empty-handed from the search in Berkeley for the funeral and was holding her mother, Kit, tightly in the first row. Kit was convulsing into her handkerchief, trying to keep the flood of tears quiet. Right behind her was Sophie, who had mastered the art of silent tears, hunching into her herself, veined hands over her eyes, rocking in unvoiced prayers.

There was no one else in the room, and Amy could not divine where the chanting voices had hidden themselves. A tape recorder maybe, she thought. Or something piped in.

She walked out to the rose carpeted hall quietly, and asked the tall gawky figure behind the desk to turn off the music. The thought was nice, she said, it's just that my family needs its silence right now.

The thin figure stroked his angular beard quietly and whispered, "But there is no tape recorder. Nothing is playing in the room--just as requested." He rose and followed her into the sanctuary. Shook his head. "It's quiet now," he said.

She listened and still heard the chanting, voices rising and falling like waves. The voices bunched up, swelling bass, rose to a higher tenor pitch and slowly cascaded down to a dull indeterminate buzz. She told him to listen. He did. Cocked his head to one side and cupped his hand around his hear. Stood quietly for a few minutes. Finally, he straightened his long, thin back and shook his head slowly.

"I don't hear anything," he said. "I have something for nerves, if you need it." he added slyly, edging back to his desk.

Amy shook her head.

Sophie had risen and slipped behind Amy, and put her hand on her shoulder, twisting her long hair softly. Amy looked at Sophie questioningly. Sophie nodded.

"I'll tell you about it," she said, squeezing Amy's shoulder. "Though it seems like everyone ought to know the story by now, I guess it is just that we don't talk about it a whole lot.

waves hunch / and crest / in empty air / strike madly on / the shore forever / churn spray / retreat to / breathe again

the word is / the sound / of water / dripping from/ ancient symbols / tiny particles / of merging / realities

Follow us all: Amy/Anna, Sophie/Yuki, Kit/Richard, minor characters or sift through water leavings and river journeys.