Flat Tire At Reynisfjara

by Colin Fisher

Dedicated to the memory of Alice Joy Anderson

Once I burst out of my skin running. The sky boiled in gray and white. My mother knit the sweater in 1986. Not for me. I stole my inheritance from my father. It fit into the sand on the beach. Shattered basalt. Not yet grit. I shouldn’t lie on this beach where the water comes up bright white and searing. I shouldn’t lie here where there is nothing between me and the waters at the end of the world. No birds wheeling above. They cobweb the cliffs. The summer grass is green enough to hurt your eyes. It is a thing that should not be. It grows on the cliffs. On the caves. Once I sat down at the bigger cave with a bucket of chicken wings. We couldn’t make a fire. The wings were pre-cooked. We ate them and then we went back up the hill. We broke into the church earlier (no point, no water), stole firewood from the summer house. We lay down on grass a little softer than the shining-slick rocks on the beach. I woke up drowned. Once the sky was white and the water was white where it foamed and gray where the whales fought and the beach was black and it was deep enough into autumn that the bright green grass faded to indistinct as the fire ripping through my veins drowned a little in the wasteland of the sea. The sky is pink on the edge. It’s just a flat tire. I’ve destroyed everything. The beach lay untouched for seventeen million years and in an eyeblink there are swords buried in view of the rotting glacier and two cars alone in the parking lot just past the solstice. I pay for the hostel. I stand outside and the cliffs loom in the moonless bright-gray night and there are birds wheeling here and the basalt has shaped itself into messy handfuls of clay and there are hollows and pockmarks and it does not seem that behind these alien and immortal structures should be a gas station. I take a drag. Another. My eyes swim. I’m cocooned in black but there are streaks of green. The lupines wave. They should not be here but they are holding the earth to its roots while the sea keeps swallowing space, trying to gnaw around them. There should be a dragon on the other side of the basalt. I want so much for there to be one. It’s just a flat tire. In my next life I’ll be a sea troll and squat in the caves inhaling the particular scent of water dripping down through volcanic glass. I’ll eat fossilized chicken bones. Puffins throb when they fly. They don’t wheel. They aren’t graceful. Once I lay down on the beach at midnight. But I stood up. I shook night-black sand out of the purling. I didn’t drown. It was just a flat tire. We went home.

Colin Fisher is from the American Rust Belt. He lives in Iceland, where he studies folklore, works with children, and procrastinates on knitting projects. He can be reached at colinbeowulf@gmail.com.

Artwork by: Qinrui Chen

I’m a young professional in biotech that is transitioning to advertising. My work is focusing on Bio-art and glitch art. Using manipulated medical image of human bodies to raise questions to re-think the biological existence of humanity in the urban development. I hope to create conversations in bio-art with people of same interest.

Instagram: @henqinrui888
Email: chenqinrui888@126.com