Each day I come to the end of this pier,
to the tarry fragrance of rotting planks
and shellfish, to kick the sand carried here
by my shoes into the Atlantic.
I love that sound–not like the ocean
frying rocks on the beach–but that fizz,
manmade, sand peppering water. The motion
of ships in the drizzle
is huge and slow. Burdened with ore
they seem asleep. I hate my life. Sweating or
to scar this painless existence:
this is the air browned by the steel mill
at the end of the tongue. This is death.
(First published in The MacGuffin, Volume VIII, Number 1, Spring 1991 as “December: The Shore.”)