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A Few Lines from Rehoboth Beach

2006-09-08 09:35

    Dear friend, you were right: the smell of fish and foam

    and algae makes one green smell together. It clears

    my head. It empties me enough to fit down in my own

    skin for a while, singleminded as a surfer. The first

    day here, there was nobody, from one distance

    to the other. Rain rose from the waves like steam,

    dark lifted off the dark. All I could think of

    were hymns, all I knew the words to: the oldest

    motions tuning up in me. There was a horseshoe crab

    shell, a translucent egg sack, a log of a tired jetty,

    and another, and another. I walked miles, holding

    my suffering deeply and courteously, as if I were holding

    a package for somebody else who would come back

    like sunlight. In the morning, the boardwalk opened

    wide and white with sun, gulls on one leg in the slicks.

    Cold waves, cold air, and people out in heavy coats,

    arm in arm along the sheen of waves. A single boy

    in shorts rode his skimboard out thigh-high, making

    intricate moves across the March ice-water. I thought

    he must be painfully cold, but, I hear you say, he had

    all the world emptied, to practice his smooth stand.

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