Struggling to bring this ashore, to roll this corpse up over the tidemark. Not sure, not at all sure, that I shouldn't just let it wash out to sea. Still, some pieties are inescapable. (Not that I'd care to be brought in myself: let me go.)
The clink clank of hammers, far away, of work that I used to understand. A stiff wind bending the beach pines. I remember nothing of all those things I worked so hard to master. There was some Latin verse: passion and a raft figured in it. Virgil? Ovid? I don't remember now, though I remember copying it out.
It's still so hard. I have to be ruthless, though, about cutting things out and leaving them alone. My time is shockingly short. By some methods of reckoning I have a one in seven chance of having a heart attack, in the next ten years. I don't believe my chances are that poor, but still, I'm in those crosshairs. Sooner or later. And that, of course, is barring accident or misadventure.
Still there is no better way to proceed than to go methodically through the to-do lists that I have made. One thing, and then the next. I keep circling back. Roll the corpse over onto its stomach, then onto its back again. A yard further up the beach.
Oh for the long white dunes and the beach running off into a white haze of spray on either hand! I am doing something wrong. I am doing something wrong. I don't know what, but I know the signs of it.
The knees of my levis wet from the sand. Grit under my fingernails. Heave again. Come on, man, up we go. You weren't a picky eater, lad! Tucked in with gusto.
As I rock back on my heels, and try to wipe the sweat out of my face without wiping the sand into my eyes, it occurs to me to wonder: what if this corpse is mine? I mean, after all, whose else would it be?
Because in that case I would really be free. Really. To walk away on the long white sand.