By Philip Kuepper
The day turned out
to be curious.
The beach, at first,
was draped in light,
thick folds of light
we wore covering our nakedness,
not out of shame (we were
naked, deliberately) but because
there was no shade to clothe us,
until, suddenly, there was,
from an almost preternatural
cloud that curled cold, wildly,
in off the ocean. We pulled
on slacks and sweaters,
with a deftness unusual for us,
the cloud like a judgement
dismissing the light.
We did not look up,
but focused on shells fanned in the sand,
I, on a white scalloped one,
you, one that appeared a knobby claw.
Sea wrack lay wrecked against rock,
the beard of it I imagined Poseidon wearing.
Half-a-mile off shore, a boat,
I thought too small for an ocean,
rocked like a nursery rocking horse,
a child of wind mounted on it.
The waves kept pushing it backwards
as it advanced. Was Sisyphus its captain?
Then the judgement cloud curled away,
and light was, again, everywhere.
It was then we were certain we saw
someone down the beach walking toward us.
But when we looked again, he was gone.
Had that been the soul
of some mariner
who had never finished his voyage?
(12 April 2020)