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South Beach on a windy evening at sunset

21 January 2011

I wrote this poem draft in November and found it in my notebook today.

If this is what runners feel,
wind pressing their bodies
trying to hold them back, hold them
in place, then I get why they run.

This wind dares me to step forward,
sand slipping under my soles,
two earthly measures working
in alliance to challenge me.

In this situation I need to work
with my body to walk on the beach;
I can’t be against it. Damn wind,
outsmarting me like that.

Looks like nature knows
how the world is meant to be.
When I look across the ocean
to the sun, floating inches

above the horizon now, it glares
back at me, refusing to be regarded.
I have no choice but to turn back
towards myself. Nine seagulls

prance in the tide water, pretending
they don’t know that every ten seconds
a new wave sloshes in. They peck
their way out towards the wet line of sand,

fragments of seafoam lingering
in a rough half moon, then the next wave
rushes in and the gulls startle, flitting
up the sand, avoiding the pull

of the backtide around their thin ankles.
I decide to be a seagull for five minutes,
which seems short but is a lot of seconds
if you consider what it is we seagulls do.

I step into the wet sand, crushing
a bit of froth with my shoe, and stray
closer to the heaving waves until suddenly
the water rushes at me, intent on knocking

me down, and I scuttle backwards,
water curling around my toes,
lapping at my loose laces, regretful
at missing the chance to draw me in.

It’s hard work, what seagulls do,
requires effort. I step towards
the wet sand again. So do they.

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