by Michelle Elvy
I dreamed I was a whale shark dreaming he was a boy dreaming he was a whale shark dreaming he was a boy dreaming he was a whale shark dreaming he was a boy. Illuminating. Diving. Soaring. All in one night, or maybe it was one hour, or even one minute. I dove down down down and found fluorescent charms swinging from the snouts of seahorses. I flew firecrackerfast, fearsome and jubilant at the dizzying depths and the iridescent shape of things. I fed on plankton but they weren’t plankton at all – they were morsels of delight, merry magical minstrels skipping on my tongue, pressing and lifting at the same time. Between bites (gapes, because there’s no chewing when you’re a whale shark) I napped and dreamed, and I was the boy, and I had a ladder, and I climbed and climbed and climbed. The ladder went up to the top of my house and beyond. It touched treetops and the salt of the sea-sky in the harbour. It exceeded the reach of my mother’s call, way out in the everdark of the night. I dove through silk raindrops and I was a whale shark again, pectoral fin browsing slippery sand. And then I was a boy again. Shifting back and forth, down and up: first tail swish, long and smooth and elegant like a shark but not a shark, then boy with hands – hands! – digging a mote of water for protection (naturally) around a castle, singing sea-lavender songs. As a whale shark, I dreamed the boy, and as a boy, I dreamed the whale shark. And so on. Blueblack of ocean to blackblue of sky. Down and back up. Swimming laddering lunging climbing.
I can be anything in my dreams.
I open my mouth and swallow the stars.