In the morning, hearts rolled in with the waves. Some bobbled like buoys loose in the ocean, others trailed long clouds of faint pink. Soon the sand was littered with them, their fishy avocado fragrance rising. I walked down the shore, cold and alone, gathering up as many as I could manage. A few bumped away, some just lay there. I slithered them into the pockets of my vest, blood and saltwater running down my legs. Finally, I lay back on hard sand and pulled the hearts over my chest and neck until we were all one warm mass, quivering.
Laurie Ann Doyle’s new book of stories, World Gone Missing (Regal House Publishing: October 2017), was nominated for the California Book Award, and praised by The New York Times bestselling author Edan Lepucki for delivering “powerful portrayals of people desiring connection, hope, and renewal.” Winner of the Alligator Juniper National Fiction Award and a Pushcart Prize nominee, Laurie’s short stories and essays have appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Timber, and Under the Sun, among many other journals. She teaches writing at The San Francisco Writers Grotto and UC Berkeley. Visit her online at https://www.laurieanndoyle.com
Photo: Kyle Loftus