Run here stumbling
on inconstancies The surf
slapping on rock
drags salted waste back and forth
mixed with ochre soap foam
forces the stagger of your trailmark
ball of the foot deeper than heel.
The sea labors to eat away
the sandbar which separates
successions of moon-driven breakers
from a still cove
where waterbirds dip beaks, trap
fingerlings worms infant crabs.
The hinged baton legs of a solitary crane
lift and plunge in abstract semaphore:
hold breath keep distance
Curve to the sunrisen line of mauve
half water half sky
A figure in white seamless garment
sways on the horizon
torso at one with knees bent in slow
shaven head’s gaze toward sea as sleeves
fill with wind’s exhale:
absorbed by motion, limbs
friction carving signet on sands
suspended in air
by the wind
your toes like prongs
around oval stones
circles of water
by Charlotte Mandel
Aquarium, Monterey, California
At noon, the great Hand
breaches the world’s rippling membrane
and a jet of pellets
raises a swarm of yellow bee fish.
Coarser pellets meander
awaited by the o-mouthed
blackeyed rockfish who waves transparent ruffled fins
like a drag queen in summer georgette
having wiggled its lump of backside into a hole in the reef
drilled by acid suction of a geoduck clam’s
feeding tube, a plasmatic human-sized phallus.
The clam, spent,
revolving with tidal currents
will stumble across virgin coral.
On the sandy bottom
striped angel wings
refill muscular bellies
raking nutrients through toothed gums.
All dross drifts to spiral-humped moon snails
who cleanse by grazing—
patient in dim light
where shadows of spectators
swim the glass shield
in a dream of regaining
so gentle a fit.