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Sunburn by Brendan J. Robinson
published in Volume 5, Issue 1 on March 1st, 1998

I am standing in the perfect, arid air
as we sink, swift and silent to the sea.
My fingers, scouring a small, plastic jar
and aloe cooling the pink flesh of my forearms.
They are marked by the first days sun in three weeks.

We have taken a wealth of steel an fiberglass
an set it into motion with oil and air.
As we dive, veins of sea water coarse about us.
Challenging the very force of nature
our machines will twist and spin
separating out the salt from water,
transforming the water into air; indeed,
we are breathing in the ocean itself
defying her power with the perfect balance of our shape.

Yet in this foreign land, we cannot forever sustain.
Soon we must turn to and awake from our darkened dream,
and after we have returned from the deep,
once we have risen up, triumphant, bragging
that we have survived the great weight of the seas;
The Sun, that single phenom we could never reconstruct,
will pain us for our disrespect,
for our beloved chemistry and architecture,
for our strange alchemy of survival,
so compact and forced, so hurried and incomplete.

I am standing in a bathroom at the bottom of the sea,
healing my skin beneath flourescent rays.
Inside, the air is dull and clean.
Outside, the sun rises, and waits.

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