White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams was born in the Marianna Islands in 1979 and lived on a yacht for twelve years while traveling the South Pacific. She completed her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and currently teaches in their English Department.

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Hannah Abrams

The unleashed sail like torn paper. Nesting wasps tumble down in black bundles, loosening. The wind, salt-heavy, deposits gray scales on the skin. Today, I’ll fish a blue Linckia starfish from the fire coral, keep it in a yellow bucket. It will float up lightly just above my palm: no fight. A small knife, and I cut off a single arm so the starfish and its arm will rest at the bottom of the bucket. Tonight, I will dream of wolves climbing up the anchor chain.

The island is a pile of coarse, young sand. A heaping tangle of kudzu. An unlit bonfire, graphitic twists of wood. If you were to press a finger to the wood, it would give a little. A cool swim, a thirty minute swim, to come across the two girls: blonde hair plastered to pale backs, long, loose, gleaming limbs rising. My father will fish a girl from the ocean when she cuts her white foot on the rock. You’re so light, he’ll say. Like nothing. He’ll keep her and her friend, on our boat all through the night. With champagne under the inky sky, and music spreading over the boat and over the water all through the night until morning leaves them on the island.

The Linckia has no brain: the arms do all the thinking. It can happen: one arm will take charge. It has happened: the Linckia splits purposefully, splits deliberately in two. Into many. Into too many, and the pieces drift away. Irony: Oyster fishermen would chop them up and throw them back into their beds.

Brittle stars. Basket Stars. Serpent stars. Sea urchins. Heart urchins.

And feather stars are nocturnal, rolling up their arms during the day. Brittle stars hide in the coral with their breakable arms.


The bleeding girl is an emergency. A call for help. A serious situation. The foot is white, is dying. An artery is cut, is spilling, is soaking the sand. Holding the girl like nothing, he tells my mother: Take off your shirt. My mother crosses her arms, makes her eyes big in her face. Out in the cool swim, the Crown-of-Thorns is chased by a puffer fish, by a giant triton shell. The Crown-of-Thorns grazes the coral reefs, leaves them white and dead. Tonight, even after the shirt is reddened

and cast aside, my mother will hide away and cross her breakable arms.


The blue starfish arm in the yellow bucket becomes a comet.

—What was your nightmare? my father says.

—Of wolves.

—But we live on a boat. My mother sews up the new sail, the sky, the SOS flag. The ocean foams and snarls. My father hums, my lover stands on golden sands and watches the ships that go sailing.






Copyright© Hannah Abrams. White Whale Review, issue 1.3


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