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I awoke abruptly, squintingly, because the sun peered in my bedroom window, an alarm my body cannot refuse. Strange sun, Jim Morrison said in his notebook poem, and I opened my door after I put clothes on (but not shoes because no one needs shoes to walk from the balcony to the cool beach sand that was not far away.)  Strange sun well-riz on my right also known as East, the train of cool blue dawn retreated into the distance, laughing gulls squeaked overhead and moved on instead of making their usual mocking laughter from the breakwater that sounds like children a mile away calling out for help because they are drowning.

I walk barefoot on a beach where I found seashells in all stages of their lives tossed on the shingle by an uncaring sea, but all those shells and emerald mermaid’s hair wafting in the tidal pools are gone.  The Army Corps of Engineers came and did one heck of a job building up this little spit of land that had been slowly reclaimed by the ocean one winter storm, one summer hurricane at a time and now my feet trod sand the size of peppercorns instead of soft, creamy quartsy silt I fell in love with, all those tidal pools gone.  I am grateful yet disoriented. Strange.

So this morning I woke and walked and found the dragon’s egg. Should come as no surprise to anyone because the system that came from the west moved in and brought us a week of rain and a night of high wind, fearsome wind too early for hurricane but made us reach for our batteries and bottled water anyway.  I plucked the egg from the sand poor thing blown from her nest, abandoned, knowing that’s the worst thing I could possibly do but when did I ever abide by the rules, and I held it in my hand wondering what could I possibly do?  And then the shell broke, the creamy satin shell broke open and spilled out venom all over my hand and it hurt like the sting of a bee that begins slowly and takes over your interstitial fluids and spreads out and swells because it really, really, does not want you to be offending it yet you have by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and you are paying for your transgression. I held the dragon’s egg, seeping fluids hurting so much, but my pride kept me from screaming so I ran down and into the cold, cold water and submerged me and the egg hoping the pain would ebb.  The silken shell stuck to my hand. The venom came forth like a ginger lady’s tresses, Rapunzel-like, then dissipated in the brine. The shell dissolved and my pain dissolved too as I panted hopping foot to foot hoping not to step on a skate just going about his business.