Andra Simons


Turtlemen: In the Beginning

Turtlemen learn how to whistle before they learn to swim. An ancient technique, passed through undertow and flow, our story tells us of the short days, God, hungry and impatient with his beloved tribe of sanctuary masons because they were unable to retrieve fragments of a new sun from the bottom of a gluttonous ocean. For each novel diver he would carve their empty attempt along the width of their back, His chiselled thumb with exquisite penmanship, a lick on every stroke. Nuggets of fire grow into ice in the belly of the heaving indigo mother, scorned. Their markings were many, keloid postings would hiss and harmonise, healing layer upon layer until each men carried their own uniquely shaped fleshy soft shelter. Before a futile mission, each would hold onto the men at his shoulder, kiss each tallied companion’s forehead. Grasping that line from the lip to the gut; a wilting bayflora garland at the water’s edge waiting to walk through the waves.

The rebellion crushed God against the reef, and they whistled to drown out the splitting of the universe in two.

My father too whistled. I studied his quiver, his intensity, and the rapture in each undulating hypnotic note. I could only tightly press my lips and blow bubbles from behind my small sharp teeth. These are the neglected details in child rearing, I never learned to rebel, trumpeting a rally cry, this space we swim through must never recover god.