Hot sand crunched underfoot. Hotfoot shrieky tiptoes onto cool blankets and beach towels. Warm salty water, buoyant waves. Somewhere there’s a fire, a smoky-warm cloud wafting across the sand. Maybe the lottery wasn’t real, wasn’t going to happen, wasn’t going to take its tithing tenth in just over an hour.

The war machine waited, waited with hungry mouth and tail, waited for its food, waited just off shore while the food played at being unconcerned, unnoticing, festive beachgoers playing and sunning at the seaside.

Mothers slathered sunscreen onto reddening shoulders. Kids dug sandy trowels deeper into cool wet holes. Fathers dug quarters out of pockets for sweet cold treats.

In just over an hour, the cloudshadow would move off again into deeper, colder waters. Mothers and fathers — you could still call them that — would file two by two into sunhottened cars with now-empty back seats. Sandy trowels would litter the beach, here and there dotted with a popsicle wrapper, blowing in the warm salty wind.


This is part of a 30-day foray into the art of ekphrasis, or writing from art. What you read today was 10 minutes of unedited writing from the Russian beach submarine image you see. Each day I choose a new image and write for 10 unedited minutes using the image as a starting place. I call the category Phantasm, which according to my dictionary means a figment of the imagination; an illusion or apparition, or archaic, an illusory likeness of something. 

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