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Original artwork by Ella Jensen

Aphrodite Never Learned to Sail

Lance Dornan

“Call me Ishmael!” he cries aloud—slinging my drink across the bar. The glass sings, slipping its way across the glossy laminate. My partner, for now, a man obsessed with a book I will never read. I grew up in a town surrounded by black water. Night devoured the sky, and the river swallowed her starlight. Back then, I sat at the edge of the old three-legged dock; Inky water reflecting a broken image of my innocence. I scowled. The mirage mocking me each time she formed below. Sending bubbling foam into the air—Aphrodite kissed my feet and beckoned me closer to the river’s maw. Freshwater afterbirth foaming around my hips as I lowered myself into the icy current. I’d never considered myself a sailor before that night, when I slipped out from river into sea. The man beside me comes closer. I appear to ponder my drink. I slip an index finger over the basin of cheap liquor six times, then swallow.