Jami is Cori's sister, an author, and an employee of the Chicago Public Library. We are very excited to have her on as our very first contributor to our new project Pando. Check out this neat article about her in the Chicago Tribune. Welcome to Pando.
Jami sent us a chapter of her forthcoming book entitled, “Keeper’s At the Floating Bridge.”
We will not be posting the entire chapter, but she has given us permission to share an excerpt. Here is a passage that resonated strongly with all of us; the description of the sea sets the dark tone of the whole essay and faces you with the strange power of Jami’s world.
In the Crag, though our village proper is a couple kilometers inland, you never forget the sea. Or rather, you never forget her fury, and the unnamed faceless things she holds underneath her curdled waves. Every year she claims more bodies than the wars, even, and it is a worse ending, too, because she takes men when they are alone, and she keeps their bodies like a secret, and her graveyard is huge and endless.
When our men return from their vessels at dusk, hands shriveled and bleeding, her smell is on their skin, and even after they bathe in the fresh water the women carry from the river and boil over their hearths, their breath reeks with it, salty and wild. And when your man climbs onto the futon next to you at night, you breathe thanks to the gods and all the minor kami and you listen to his heart beat, knowing that tomorrow it will happen again, the leaving, and the tomorrow after that, and the rest of tomorrows until he dies, or you do. He does not belong to you, no matter what you said at your wedding ceremony; he is hers.
We decided we would each respond in what ever way we were inclined.