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Friday, February 03, 2006

Pismo, 1959

The day ends with the blur
you wanted, full of watery hours,
the light weathered like aluminum,
gulls twining the air—summer’s
floating script in the sky
refusing to pull together. The sun

breaks down each body
to silver, each bar of flesh
waist-deep in foam and brine.
The day flares out: wreckage

of orange on blue. Sea stars
wheel into place; like you,
they witness the tide, the whitecaps
tipped with distance, the distance
large with blown sails and spray.
And the whole beachway goes cold
while strands of ocean light
sink like heavy netting.

So this is the sun’s passage
through dark doors of water....
So this is the scrolled shell
on fire, magnified. There is no one—
no lifeguard—to call out all
the bathers from calling water,

though you sense the dark
roll in, grain by toe-felt grain,
its curl slick and seamless
like a wing or a wave. Home’s
still a hundred miles inland. You say
the globe is three-fifths blue
and rocks forever toward us, you say
we will never die, and I believe.
I’ll sleep the whole drive back
beside you, leaning close and small
like a shadow reeled in, your face
precise with fine sand and shining.

by Robert Vasquez

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