HOW PHIL IMAGINES THE AFTERLIFE

 

 

  1. Would you have a couple of bucks for the kid with the Mai Tais? I asked him to go easy on the syrup. 

  2. I like how the umbrellas from the two umbrella rental companies mix together, the red-and-yellow and the green-and-purple. It all looks so planned, combining the colors that don’t go. It’s like fashion from when I was a kid. 

  3. Your shoulders are burning. Here. 

  4. Did you remember to freeze the bottles of water? 

  5. Stop doing that, you’re getting sand on me. 

  6. Don’t you love that the ocean’s got so much rhythm? All of those wild creatures—and they’re hunting each other inside that big rhythm. 

  7. I’m not sure what to say about it all, I know it’s just the ocean, but I love the size of everything inside of everything. I mean, the stuff in the stuff. How much is going on, under there. 

  8. That could be Europe. 

  9. So I was thinking, I’d like to get to know Sam. I don’t think I’ve given him much of a chance. 

  10. Did we set up too close? If we stay too long, we’ll need to move higher. 

  11. Music from bad neighbors. Cigarette smoke. Other people, man. 

  12. Being okay with not being okay, and being okay with this being it. 

  13. I’m going in the water. When the kid comes, will you handle it? 

  14. That doesn’t look healthy. 

  15. Did you bring the cord to my sunglasses? I’m going to try wearing them on the air mattress. 

  16. Did you make the reservation? 

  17. I guess it’s okay that the lifeguard’s a kid, right? 

  18. There’s such a weird difference: the tide is on a schedule, but the weather isn’t. 

  19. I brought this book from the house. Check out all of these names: bladderwrack, pulse, forest kelp, gutweed, Scotch Bonnet, Mermaid Purse, common cup, lace cup, spiderwood, sponge wood. A name is yours, even if you’re a thing. 

  20. Did you ever think about that? I mean, lives just happen overnight, and then they wash up here. 

  21. Like us. 

  22. When the Mai Tais arrive, let’s toast. To the next adventure.

Alan Michael Parker is the author of four novels, including The Committee on Town Happiness (Dzanc Books), and nine collections of poems, most recently The Age of Discovery (Tupelo Press). His awards include three Pushcart Prizes, multiple selections and commendations in Best American Poetry and Best American Essays, the Fineline Prize, the Lunate 500 Prize, and the North Carolina Book Award. He holds the Houchens Chair in English at Davidson College.

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