Touch the Joy

Touch the Joy
by Rina Palumbo

Touch the earth, touch the sea, touch the sky. Smooth, smooth rocks beneath your feet that have traveled miles that have been tumbled by waves, that have eroded and that have been corroded, and that keep rolling and rolling unto distant shores and brought back into the tumultuous, churning energy of the ocean, leaving sand and gravel and bits of itself (once part of something bigger). Returned now to this shore in this time, touching your bare feet that have traveled miles to meet these smooth, smooth rocks; they kiss the skin of your soles, they welcome you, shape themselves to your energy, the molecules of joy spinning loose now from you and only you at this moment, at this time. The water, as cold as the rocks are smooth. Colder still, these complex atoms reach out to you, filling the space between land and sky, evaporation, condensation, the cycle not broken but accelerated in this here and now, your momentum into the glorious sea. You anticipate. You anticipate the water washing over you, cleansing you, turning your skin white and blue, and filling you with the shock of cold, cold, icy fingers streaming and staining your skin. You came from this water, amino acids, and lightning in the salt and the tang of that sharp, bitter, sharp, sharp, bitter calling to the skin on your body to return home. Breath now. Invisible yet necessary, the atoms of oxygen that fill your lungs get stolen by blood cells pumped out by your beating heart. You, alive in this moment, your first and last breath, the same perhaps as the air now in your lungs. Breathing in the sunlight, which excites the air, makes the molecules swarm in eddies around you, tendrils holding you, penetrating you, seeping in with photons, you exhale the sun, but shards of it remain, making you shine and spin with a gravity you always had, remember feeling so light, absorb the sunlight, reflect it, be it in this world at this time. There is only you here in this place; now, your toes spin the earth, your arms churn the sky, and your body, in this moment, agitates the sea, spreading out waves of joy. You are all the joy, all the earth, all the sea, all the sky. You are creation and creator (once part of something bigger). In this alchemy of the now, rejoice, transforming this now into the future, into all the infinite moments of now yet to be, bringing it all into you, into your body, and out into this beautiful, beautiful world. Touch the joy.


Rina Palumbo (she/her/hers) is working on a novel and two nonfiction long-form writing projects alongside short-form fiction, creative nonfiction, and prose poetry. Her work is forthcoming or appears in Ghost Parachute, Milk Candy, Bending Genres, Identity Theory, Stonecoast, and AutoFocus et al. You can find her online at, on Twitter (X) @Rina_Palumbo and on Instagram/Threads @rina_palumbo.


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