The Boy and The Sea


Image of small boy looking into ocean face I asked the sea to dine with me.
Without a word,
her eyes shifted under the waves
(those are her eyelids, you know,
and her eyelashes make the wave-froth).
Her thousand lids fluttered demurely.
Her little mouth puckered
(that's the shallow bay where the fish boats
scratch off their barnacles like a cat its fleas).
I offered to bring the rice-grains
if she brought the jelly-fish.

I could dynamite you! I yelled at her,
or let the snow fall
or finger you like a snail
or tickle you like a silk-worm
and then we could climb trees
(if you're not afraid like I used to be!)
The wind makes you ruddy
and the moon makes you fat
like my mom after daddy left
(does that mean someone left you too?).
Does the rain really scare the fish?
The sun jumps from end to end on you
like a real trampoliner!

It's true my pockets are as empty as my brains
and no one ever finished building you
because you're still ground level,
but when the rains fall
their pellets spread magic hands on your cheeks
and squeeze you.

Do you know the sea has never driven a car?
And gentlemen never escort her on evening walks?
And that her waves push me away modestly
but hungrily pull me back?

So, I figure, though I'm no Duke
nor no big red Indian neither,
though I've never galloped on the prairies
or salmoned upstream
or sat at conference tables with level brooding eyes
and though the sea's signs are brutal
and her wounded call so devious
and her bent, sobbing, harsh eyes
trained in the customs of divorced men,
and through by the sea-shore the bitter air,
clear as fire, sneaks and blabs and
slanders and counts ridicules
on the short wet girl,
she'll get hungry enough one day
to detach her enjoyments from nasty pirateers
and curl onto my lap as I sit near my sandcastle
and tell me all her sad, sad stories.Photo of boy on beach making sandcastles

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