coastal town

folks who don’t live nearby
will talk about colors and moods
as if the sea were a person
dressing up for special occasions,
as if there were some way
to understand or befriend it.
they have never known
the sudden acts of god upon the waters,
sometimes far out,
only a shrimpboat crew for witnesses.
these things happen;
the sea is only a place.
or, if a person, only that kind of
tired woman married a lifetime
to an angry man given to drink.
too thin and spare to do much but get by,
she has become someone else’s canvas.
the tourist-poets spin out coffeeshop verses
without ever having waded out,
hitting the reds and the sea bass for hours,
swaying with the breakers’ suck and slap.
it undoes something inside a man
to know the water like this.
driving home i want to tell them,
the ocean is not your mother,
is not some neighbor or friend,
can not be boiled down
to some lover you wish you had.

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3 thoughts on “coastal town

  1. too kind! i’m on vacation and am slowly working out my several-month-long period of strong dissatisfaction with my own writing. for me, it’s just a matter of doing a little bit every day. thanks for reading!

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