The ocean reverberated swells and dips, then made skin to shelter in, like bread dough when it’s rising makes a crust, or like surface-ice that buckles from beneath. The skin thickened to a turtle’s shell run through with fissures, through which ocean frothed and cooled, thus clotting them again, and the shards sloshing on the waves crashed, cracked, gobbled one another down into the hot sea whose edge they formed.
A big hailstorm made the skin wet. A big sandstorm made it rough. The skin was always sweaty, and it burped. It entered a period of lasting dandruff, in which sloughed-off bits circulated like rumors or the flavors in a stew. Some swallowed other skin and strewed out pieces of themselves. The skin-bits split in half and ate twice. Soon well enlarged, again they fragmented.
Some pieces of this dandruff climbed onto one other and stuck like two thoughts come together every time, or like the bonds in molecules. They arrayed themselves collective in strange patterns, then built more large patterns with a technique called sex. Some dandruff rolled out into eyes. Some of it made tongues. More pulled out into leaves and stalks and alligator gizzards. From skin spun mushroom gills, placenta, feathers, phloem, petals, blubber, marrow, sap, and cotton, venom, sweat, tear-ducts, thorns, mycelium, pericardium, and the husks for onions.
In some of these ocean’s skin’s dandruff’s patterns, thinking happened. Ideas proliferated in this skin like water. Some things were “suffering” or “good,” and often things changed categories. They counted the legs of other dandruff structures. They linked one idea to others in great conduits of metaphor.
Soon these conscious crust-bits started making their own structures from pieces of skin that they chopped down, or mixed with sweat and molded up that way. Sometimes they dug out parts of the skin and melted them to the ocean, then separated parts to freeze into big sticks that they forced back into the skin, then lived inside, a kind of burying oneself.
The ocean churned. The skin reorganized in every shape. The ocean though, as the crumpled brains thought. The trees’ roots and the computers thought, just differently. Things reworked in fractal variations, and although each crust-bit would “return to the skin,” really they had never left, for they continued to be skin.
At brief moments, the ocean knew that it was rather a droplet of a larger sea. What about the sibling drops? What about the river out of which they came or the bigger ocean that had fed that river? They were continuing, dipping and swelling each its way, or all were doing one thing slowly and together, or we, I, it, this all, was this being.