When we were young they walked us out to the water
“This is your chance”, they told us
“your turn to weave, to throw, to hope”.
They sat us on the mud of the bank,
Eager children watching closely
As the silver threads of story fell from their mouths.
They gathered the shimmering filament
Hand over hand, word after word
Twisting the tales with one hand
Spinning the details into a precious net
Made of the words of their hearts.
The cadence changed the thread’s color
Darkening to a bold pewter
thinning to gauze almost invisible
with each shout or whispered moment.
“Now you”, they said, watching our faces
as we screwed up our eyes and prayed
for the power to weave.
My net formed with a surprising suddenness, startling me as it flew
shining in the cold moonlight
springing from my unformed mind to fall into my childish hand.
“This is your net”, they told me, “and now you must cast it.”
I stood forth at the water’s edge
water that stretched, endless, beyond the horizon
beyond my girlish imagination
and threw, and threw, and threw.
The next years of my life were spent on the edge of the water
knitting and casting, weaving and hoping.
Every day it turned up empty, my silver net tarnishing
until That Day.
The net was cast, the words were thrown
Out into the wild sea
and the net in my hand shuddered
tensing and seeking as it met yours,
our words rebounding, dancing.
Your net was golden, bright and yellow,
A color no one in my world had ever seen.
There it was, grasping my words in its web
And drawing me closer and closer
Across the water, silver strands clutched tightly,
Until I found you
And your stories of worlds across the vast ocean
Echoing into my mind
And filling my heart.
Maia Jacey Frieser is a writer and a PhD student in Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado Boulder. She studied Anthropology and Public Health before finding herself in the genetics of substance abuse. Originally from the wilds of Manhattan, Maia has lived in Montreal and Michigan before breaking her streak of M-names by moving to Colorado.