Steve Gergley ~ Tsunami

At dawn the earth con­vulsed and the ocean roared toward the last city, the gnarled maze of scrub pine and ruined sky­scrap­ers we had stalked since we escaped our fraud­u­lent fam­i­lies. Those peo­ple we loved and loathed and bare­ly knew at all. The men and women who lied through clin­i­cal grins and teeth as white as toi­lets. Our par­ents who probed us with long nee­dles, who scrib­bled with scratch­ing pen­cils, who reward­ed our pas­siv­i­ty with lumpy tumors of choco­late that tast­ed feath­ery sweet like ozone.

With nowhere left to run, we hud­dled against the skele­ton of a grin­ning bill­board and watched the wall of water rise up before us. We weren’t alone. On our left, a mid­dle-aged woman laughed and gib­bered and prayed to an absent god named Dagda. On our right, an old man lay naked on the cracked asphalt and watched the final rock­et launch with eyes the col­or of sea stones.

As the icy water mist­ed our faces, I clung to your warmth and final­ly told you my name. It was the one piece of myself I had nev­er giv­en to anyone.


Steve Gergley is the author of QUICK PRIMER ON WALLOWING IN DESPAIR: STORIES (LEFTOVER Books ’22). His fic­tion has appeared or is forth­com­ing in Atticus Review, Cleaver Magazine, Hobart, Pithead Chapel, MaudlinHouse, and oth­ers. In addi­tion to writ­ing fic­tion, he has com­posed and record­ed five albums of orig­i­nal music. He tweets @GergleySteve. His fic­tion can be found at: Steve Gergley