The sea makes a steady feast of rocky shoreline during winter.
Waves rearrange entrances between stones
leaving you disenchanted when summer comes.
There is no easy path in or out.
You try on the rockiest of days to step across
shell-hardened slime surfaces
a meadow of new grass semi-submerged
and sprung from the jaw of a raw incline.
A man says it’s easy enough.
A boy with a set mandible says not.
I’m angry he says. I am so angry.
His mother crouches on the one flat spot
momentarily at peace
in a ripple-plane of shallow water
before pushing off.
Two friends teach you how to enter the water
at a horizontal angle when a wave comes.
The wave makes a voluntary cushion
between the soft meat of your bone-house
and the barnacle field of underwater stones.
Swells and hollows form a restless composition
finger paint the surface of the sea field
its fickle oscillations.
The human body in a sea dense with salt can forget itself
become a slippery otter or a momentarily swift fish
with inconsequential feet.
A swell never forgets itself
or the translation of its force – two parts sun
one part wind ¬– amassed over a thousand miles –
or what it means to become a shallower racier wave
approaching the geometry of landfall.
The release that comes with smashing into a cliff
the color and texture of fossilized almond shells.
Looking over your shoulder, the distance
between one crest and another
may seem greater than the actual period between them.
A ramshackle wave arrives
frenzies you past the pier you meant to ascend
and you are caught
in the disorienting cross-splash of a partial clapotis.
When light travels by way of a swell
it can take you into its possession.
The unstoppable desire of the wave –
its three times in, three times out again
grasp and smash – its killer enchantment
with the breakage of hard surfaces.
Your husband arrives, anxious retriever.
His calloused coppery feet make an entrance
at eye-line. Across dishevelment, his voice is a bright
animation of ultra-fervent matter
a high-noon plead of instructions and shadow-less
helplessness, an incredulous begging and shouting in
like a shoreline tree thrashing branches
in a land-locked levantana wind.
When the sea retreats this time
it leaves you a near-friend
in the form of an oppositional mantra.
I’m not that strong. I’m not that strong.
Climbing out is a leverage of shiny cuts of ancient teeth
solidified rubble, your husband’s available ankles
and the dexterity of your own pale feet in turquoise sea zapatos.
The primas laugh, the warm laugh of a cool panic
when it is over. Their bent legs lounge and mingle
like ocean spiders on cliff side beach towels.
The sun spreads its wings and dives directly down.
You unfold face up, your arms, your legs quiver
in the not-all-of-the-way-back-yet fissure.
The soft buoys of your breasts slide apart
bare and –– gratefully –– not sacrificial.
The incident, a mere tremor in the felt-net.
Murmur of a half-rhyme
underscore of troubled sentient weather.