Kelly Lenox

The Long Shore
by Kelly Lenox

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.

Kelly LenoxKelly Lenox ( is the author of The Brightest Rock (March 2017). Her poems and translations appear in Raven Chronicles, Rappahannock Review, The American Journal of Nursing, Faultline, The Wide Shore, Still: The Journal, RHINO, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and works as a science writer and editor for the National Institutes of Health.

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