Wander Lust | By Giovanna Coppola

Illustration: Far Shore by Via Studio Psycherotica

We went to my mother's volcanic island, where she was born and the sadness lifted from her face and she forgot about the life that left her and became a goddess woman again.

THE OCEAN IS WARM when the sun goes down and whenever i can, i stick my feet in. i like the sand sinking into the hairs on my toes, squished in between, kicked up all around. i know my feet scare the fish away, but they always come back.

That night, the sea was warm and i couldn't see the bottom. i was sitting on a page ready to turn over, blank, nothing ahead except that the goddess felt full and deep inside. i was playing with a boy in front of a cave on a beach where my mother played when she was a girl and where i jumped from the rocks with my dad when he was alive. The moon was three quarters, venus was behind my head, reaching higher towards the goddess, the castle of aragon in front of me, balancing itself in the ocean, and i was taking off my clothes. We both were taking off our clothes, he had kissed me and i thought i could stop, i thought i knew where my boundaries were, but they dissolved, the first italian that i had kissed.

For spending every summer of my life in that hot red center of italy full of volcanoes and sea, where at eight years old i could look at porn freely because the old women in black said it was a part of life, i avoided any kiss with an italian. With their serpentine bodies, gelled hair, and cigarette packs rolled into their sleeves, i hated their aggressiveness, their machismo, their assumptions that since i was american i must be easy. So depending on what stage i was in my life, i would roll my eyes, or i would keep my eyes down. i either felt disgusted or vulnerable.

But this time, this summer, i was alone with just my mother. i had no entourage of family following me around, no friends to distract me with inside jokes. Napoli showed itself to me what it had always been, the volcano bed where i was made, weaving itself with the orange ribbon over the mediterranean where my dead father slept. i stayed beside my mother, both of us sad, remembering days that had been where our house was full of family and friends, always a homecoming celebration for papa. But i still loved it and there were signs everywhere that spoke to me, i was madly intuitive, the moon was waxing full, my tarot cards would scream out symbols that i saw around me. it was where the physical world and spiritual world met. i was sitting in the crease.

And my body was on fire. i'd lay in my big bed in our house, line up the pillows beside me so i could throw my legs around them, daydream of a body leaning against my cunt. i would fuck myself, photographs on the wall of my grandfather and grandmother that i never got to know. My breasts were swollen, my nipples would get hard sensing any man that came close to me.

We went to my mother's volcanic island, where she was born and the sadness lifted from her face and she forgot about the life that left her and became a goddess woman again. i wanted her to tell me what she believed in and listened to her stories about the saint i was named after, the patron of the island. She showed me where he was born, where he went to school, San Giovan Giuseppe, he protects the island from being consumed by the volcano fire.

And so we went to the beach where we always swam, framed by hot springs where the germans washed their hair. We took a boat taxi to get to that part of the island, a tiny beach with a restaurant that you can eat a feast while wearing your bathing suit. And so angelo drove the boat, who i've remembered since i was little, because we're the same age and we've always wanted to play but never had a chance. And my mother noticed and remembered how we would look at each other, and she began to speak and struck the strings and late that night angelo and i were swimming together in the warm ocean water.

When he first put his arms around me at the mouth of the sea, i just waited for the kiss like any other boy that had kissed. But he waited too, burying his head into my shoulder, playing and smelling my hair, wrapping his hands around my face. First he kissed my forehead, and then he kissed my nose, and then he kissed my mouth, soft, so soft, and my mouth opened to meet him, and we began to kiss. But unlike anyone else, i didn't even think that i was kissing. it was real, i was kissing my mirror, i was kissing myself, this wasn't a stranger. And i kissed some more, my heat rose, i didn't think of anything, except that there was the ocean, the volcano, the three quarter moon and venus rising higher. i could smell salt everywhere, sweat and salt in our skin and both of us wanted to swim in that warm midnight water. So we took off our clothes, back to back like little kids, we were playing like we always wanted to play. And so we swam together and gave each other orgasms in the water. A voice sang out and i thought it was me but it was him, he came like me, and his hand was inside of me and i went beyond and there was a flash, and my face, my face changed, i saw it, i was outside of myself on the beach, and i saw my face turn into a fox, red hair and whiskers and a screaming mouth with tiny teeth. For a moment i was a fox, flaming red, and then i was back, giovanna, who somehow is san giovan giuseppe.

And now, there is this pull inside of me, i sit in my room in upstate new york, burning incense and know that i belong back there, between the physical world and spiritual world, where i can masturbate in my parents' childhood homes and to all of my ancestors. i am looking at this card that Kasi had given me back in February when i told her i had lost my fire. it is the fox and on the back it says that in real life the fox is the bridge between field and forest, it is the symbol between the physical world and spiritual world.

And so i wander and lust and pray to all the gods and goddesses and to the great cosmic mother to lead me back to my home, to light the path to my destination. i will get there, with the stones that i collected from the ocean pressed into my bra. i know it. ++

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