Cape Kiwanda, Oregon
On this beach, a broken
sand dollar maps
an interruption, questions
the sequence of things—was
the shell broken, then urchin eaten?
Or, the creature died
and its grainy home
fell to pieces in the surf.
A confusion of cycles: there is
no line from start to finish on this shore
where every seventh wave is severed
in the brutal tearing of a perfect line.
The split curl harvests foam
spilt by earlier waves,
and that ivory-colored crust
climbs a ladder of crests,
with a futility unremarked
by fishermen launching
their dories into the fierce swell
below the cape, barely sheltered
from the lunar thrust of a neap tide.
When the boats return, their crews
waste not a single motion
reversing the morning’s ritual
of truck and trailer, engine and winch,
Now from each team, one jumps out,
wades ashore, backs the trailer
down to the edge. The other
guns the motor. The wet one guides,
and they load the boat, cinch it tight
before truck tires can sink
in the sucking wet sand.
Accelerating toward town, finished
is the wrong word for what they are.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 3.
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