On the Gulf

The unsure breakers stumble across the sandbar,
Blade to shoulder, subside before they crest,
Finally trip, collapse, and spill like milk.
Coquinas lap it up and burrow back.
       It’s August, the off-season.
The sea goes on and on, beyond reason.
 
Sea-oats toss their heads, unruly horses.
The beach is anchored by the old hotel.
Pinkwashed, Hispanic, rescued from the war,
It stands like an air-conditioned mission
     Against sun, squall.
The storm hasn’t been named will take it all.
 
Stingrays cruise in gangs along the shallows,
Startling the bathers. Out of a dead float
They drag children ashore like puffed vinyl.
Stand and watch. A dolphin shows a fin.
     The wind dies.
They queue, regroup, sparsely venture in.
 
The water’s nearly body temperature.
Seaweed sticks to the skin. Sand and salt
Foul the hair. Hot, fetid,
Passing like an eye, no motion.
     Enter anywhere:
Light-sump, black hole, ocean.
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