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Beach Walk
By Henri Cole


I found a baby shark on the beach.

Seagulls had eaten his eyes.  His throat was bleeding.

Lying on shell and sand, he looked smaller than he was.

The ocean had scraped his insides clean.

When I poked his stomach, darkness rose up in him,

like black water.  Later, I saw a boy,

aroused and elated, beckoning from a dune.

Like me, he was alone.  Something tumbled between us—

not quite emotion.  I could see the pink

interior flesh of his eyes.  “I got lost.  Where am I?”

he asked, like a debt owed to death.

I was pressing my face to its spear-hafts.

We fall, we fell, we are falling.  Nothing mitigates it.

The dark embryo bares its teeth and we move on.



Poem available in Salmagundi No. 153-154.
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