Remnants – III. Massachusetts, 1935

Here is Aggie at Nantucket Beach wearing her linen day skirt and button-up blouse. She holds her coin. She is happy. She holds back joy in her small mouth. She is exhausted with embarrassments. This is before the house, and the couch, and the tooth. As the light sets up, as the black cloth drops, and the mirror reflects the sand, the sky, the theft of the cameraman, her shame rises. She holds still. She thinks hard: of all the salty coins at the bottom of the Baltic, plucked up in the mouths of fish, and then discarded, little bits of metal slowly rocking through the silent glitter. She thinks, if she were there, underneath all the weight of the sea, she could hear the tiny gills of flapping fish, the moan of tired whales, the creaking of sunken ships ruined like churches, the suitcases of bones and all the coins rocking against the stones— all of them, all their cold and clanging bells.