Rose of Sharons, daubed with Impressionists’ pink and mauve, hug the last
of the nineteenth century’s porches, leaning onto the little lanes that still
remember the way to the sea: Neptune, Mermaid, Coral, Siren, Undine.
The sky hangs over the town, a gray canvas, sagging like a long-abandoned
wedding tent. Who can light the windows of the dead? The breakers keep
trawling the rocks into troughs of rip tides, of undertow. I stand at the end
of the island, the salt’s eternal burn anointing my forehead, lips, heart,
hands and feet. I’ve forgotten every prayer I ever knew. But in a dream I hear
Rivers of grace, circle back to your fountainheads, that each may run his course again.
And the surf’s wheel keeps churning the coastline’s endless granite ossuary.