Hand the horizon sandy hillocks
that hide the heaving sea.
Breathe in the effervescent
spray of brine soaked into
the blustery breeze.
Fruits congregate like captives
of the hooded Inquisition.
Watch them sweat and blink.
Waves spray-paint the sand
in vanishing fringes of white.
I splash through what remains
of low tide, searching for je ne sais quoi.
Baptism protects from darkness within,
but the sea is no respecter of persons.
It sucks up shadows, spews them into
blacker depths: dog-paddle or drown.
Shells litter my path, small creatures
freed of form, ready to reinvent
themselves, but powerless to catapult
into the future. An orange peel perfumes
their bed, unmade in the open air.
Light dances on their new home, seeping
from within, a nascent exoskeleton,
impotent shield from despair.
Clouds, plump with rain, collide midair;
their underbellies link in conspiracy
against the land. My pilgrimage here
treads uneasily, the map long thrown aside,
the X turned to Z, smeared by clumsy thumbs.
I cut rough bread, savor cheese, a half-bottle of red wine
in my pack. The big two-hearted river irrigates
my mind. Hidden hillocks hold back the sea.