Beachcombers are what they find, fragments of random
striving and longing, lookouts for the hit-or-miss gamble
of seeing something others have overlooked in a grab
bag scavenger hunt of waves and imagination.
Sooner or later the wrecks of all things arrive at the wrack
line, a chaos of pieces, an accidental archeology of stories
speaking to the scrounger picking at lobster and crab claws,
quahog shells, or a cormorant carcass alive with flies.
Children sculpt castles in stark, astringent light under
washed-out sky while greased bodies relax on blankets near
the death and desiccation of rotting seaweed, eye-gouged
fish and candy-colored buoys tangled with line.
But I long for orphaned objects caressed by a glance or light
kick. I grasp what is broken, worn and bleached: whalebone
tree trunks, faded toys, a car fender, plastic bags, a coat, socks,
lumber from shattered boats or washed-away homes.
Tides are time, riven by heart-thumping surf beats in rhythm
with a private ocean of blood whose chemistry is seawater
lapping at a landscape as transitory and perishable
as a forager’s abandoned footprints on windblown sand.
I cannot endure the shore for long, yet I’m always there,
waiting like a gull or night-treading raccoon for the storm-
tossed lottery to wash up the next main chance, dreaming
myself Jonah spewed onto the beach, at last to tell my tale.
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