A Day at the Beach

A March day, the rain has washed out
the gravel that filled last summer’s potholes.
We’re driving the beach road,
the hidden one,
the one that ends in a wall of sand.
The dunes have shifted –
this one’s grown, its ridge runs farther,
reaching out like an arm,
swallowing us up to the knee.
We climb the inland side,
walk over the edge, air beneath us,
and fall in ten-foot steps to the water’s edge.
We are not alone. The wind is here
claiming the beach for itself.
It worries the loose sand,
pulls it along in currents,
skips it across the ground,
lifts it away,
an hourglass that measures nothing.
Two crows take flight.
They bicker in the air,
with claws and wings,
claws against wings,
the way only old lovers can.
Each blade of grass has bent down,
and where it touches the sand
drawn a circle around itself
as if to say,
Here I am!
Circles within circles, hundreds and thousands,
an earnest art, a triumph
uncelebrated, unseen,
by a careless footstep, undone.
Are they playfully drawn, profound?
Both, both,
the sand captures everything,
every paused step and dug-in toe,
the curious detour, the racing beetle,
cigarettes, patience, bones, life,
all marked in the sand,
where the crows walked together
and where we walk now.
Yes, we will go, but not just yet.
The sand captures everything
and the wind carries it away.

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