Beachcomber at Garrapata

Published in Tiger’s Eye Press (Summer 2013)


You’ve strode on ahead,
the salt air making you restless
while the warm sand
has the opposite effect on me.
I burrow in.

It’s then I see her,
bent over the offerings thrown at her feet.
Hands pressed between her thighs
as if they might otherwise fly out of control
and stuff her pockets with all they can reach.

Girl in a candy shop,
eyes poring over the case of sweets,
she finally releases one hand,
stretches it toward her truffle, her nougat,
her lemon drop.

I follow her eyes, try to see where they land.
Chip of blush shell?
Green glass shard?
Curl of seaweed?
Pick the stone, I whisper,

suddenly wishing I’d hooked my arm into yours.
Pick the stone.
Warm as my beating heart.
So smooth, so evenly colored,
the story of its creation lost.

Fishbone and hard shell,
salt and sand,
boulders thrown by earthquakes into a hissing sea,
molten lava that boiled the flesh off flounder
hugging the ocean floor.

Mountains leveled
Islands swallowed
Ships wrecked
Babies lost

All hammered by the ocean’s blacksmith
into the same unreadable gray as your eyes.