The tall wind sweeping across from
all points of the compass in all seasons—
fast, slow, hard, easy.
The sand trickling or kicking up into
little clouds, covering and uncovering
the horseshoe crab shells, the million
broken pieces of other unidentifiable
shells, seaweed, dead jellyfish, sharks’
teeth, driftwood, all mingled with
scattered human trash.
The few low islands I have seen,
have been on— wind-washed, baked
in sun, blanketed with sea-damp and
hanging in wide air and the reflected
sheen of water, barely rising from
nothing into a slight something—
seem only to skim the surface.
My wife and I walk the deserted beach,
our son fishes in the surf, our littlest
daughter twirls in the wind, half talking,
half singing, her imaginary world shining
in her eyes.
We find a huge sea turtle dead on the sand,
crabs running in and out of the shell, a
single bullet hole telling the tale. Our son
catches his first fish, proud and amazed.
The boats all docked along their rows,
mostly for pleasure, though some small few
still for work— fishing or crabbing. We all
pile in your brother’s home-made boat and
go out into the bay, where something kills
the motor and we rock in the silence lapping
between the mainland and the island for just
long enough to feel the water for itself, and
not as a road for getting somewhere else.
In the late afternoon at the fish market
next to the docks we buy our dinner,
and head to the cottage to cook it in the
sea-smelling air of the yard, to hold our
beers and laugh and watch the children,
having made our yearly pilgrimage,
having come down out of the hills to
be among your family, scattered along
the edge of the land.