"The Castaway"

As a child he’d been feeding on sea stories, sea people, sea 
adventures. Benign and adverse sea, calm and rough, emerald
and leaden. Tale after tale, book after book, devoured by
insane desires, adrift in timeless daydream. A seagull, he’d
planed over enchanted bays; sea fog, he’d enveloped mighty
fleets; roller foam, he’d broken against rocks. Pirates and
privateers, crossings and peripli, vanished treasures and
alluring arcana, epic landings and ruinous shipwrecks filled
his nights. The white whale, Sir Henry Morgan, and the
Maelström were his favorite talismans. Then, a boy with
pristine hairs on the face, so far from the real sea, misplaced
in his flatland in the middle of nowhere, he still had the sea
awave inside. He could hear its call more than ever before, a
wretched hero deprived of his element. Until, unaware of
what lay further ahead, he saw the tempest come and crush
him like a straw. Fiercer than the heaviest storm he’d ever
fantasized of, truer than his rudest awakening, more
untamable than his wildest dreams. Right when, alone and
forlorn, he didn’t have sufficient time and strength to lower
the sails and take the helm.

Today he remembers with somber indifference all the hours
spent on thinking, an eternally pensive adolescent, about
which album he would take to a desert island. But there is not
nor ever was any such place, the tempest didn’t cast him to
any remote seashore. The immobile time, missed because
unused, is his hermetic little world, his desert island, with no
music nor sound except the howling of the wind. He thrashes
around in the usual shoals, like an eel that’s lost its way to
Sargasso Sea but still retains a grain of hope. He keeps on
clutching at the same old reef, conscious the final slip is near.
He, who used to rule the seas! He fancies he is Captain Nemo
at the wheel of Nautilus in the abyss once more. He sees
himself a child again, when the sea fog so dear to him
removes all horizons from his view.

Alessio Zanelli,Italian by birth, has long adopted English as his writing language and has appeared in literary magazines in a dozen countries, including, in the USA, Ascent, California Quarterly, Chiron Review, Concho River Review, Iconoclast, Italian Americana,The Lyric, Main Street Rag, Poesia, and Potomac Review. His fourth full collection, titled Over Misty Plains, will be released in the UK by Indigo Dreams in late 2011/early 2012. He is the poetry editor of Private Photo Review, an international magazine of photography and short writings, the Italian Stanza Representative for the Poetry Society of London, and a featured poet in the 2006 edition of Poet’s Market.

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