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

sleepless, unwilling

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.”)

 

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