Big Two-Hearted River

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.

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