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Rockaway Beach, 2001


It is early for the beach, but I love the morning air

before it smothers,

when it smells like sheets dried on Mama’s clothesline.

He’s still sleeping across the street

in the sixth floor apartment

and I’m wide awake,

watching cirrostratus spiders

chase the sky.

I cling to this quiet before the crowd comes,

sinking into sand and ocean

at the edge of the world.

The ululating cry of a hungry seagull echoes,

relentless, like the folding waves

that tuck themselves against the Atlantic coast.

The rising sun skips like shale over water

and onto my hand, pausing to admire itself

in the gold band around my finger.

Looking back, the apartment is barely visible,

and I wonder how we managed to get so far apart.

I walk on, following a trail of slivered shells

tossed with a billion crumbled earths.

– Kathryn Cody