on the board walk we say, "retro"
like it means tomorrow we will be shiny.
the day has webbed feet
& all i want is to be
the shell you search for
in the wet surf. instead,
everyone we find is broken.
jagged teeth of men
underneath the waves.
someone stands on the sand bar
with his arms outstreched
like he is going to be taken. do i
want to be taken?
i try to remember what hot dogs tasted like
as i walk. like snapping your fingers
& a blossom of grease.
t-shirts grin with plastic teeth.
a dart game with giant dolphins as prizes.
no one is lucky anymore i think
except maybe the houses a block from water.
as we pass them i ask, "how much do you think
those are worth?" their owners
don't live here & they don't believe
in sea gulls. i hold & ice cream cone.
the cream comes shaped like my baby face.
watching it melt all over your hands.
the sun says, "hell or high water."
we are sea gulls in our sifting.
maybe there is a gem
inside this dumpster. maybe a
dead crab belly up on the asphalt.
finding another gull to follow
above the water. our reflections
like scars moving across a stomach.
we eat. burn in the UV rays.
a folded treasure map. a seafood shack where
we enter & the person at the counter says,
"we don't serve birds." the trail
of feathers we left followed us
all the way here. shrimp standing
in the display case like quotation marks
arounds the word sea gull. flying
without any sense of when
the next carnival will give us
names we can use for a summer.
if i believed in gods i would have
bought less plastic. a beach towel falls
from my mouth & you fold it gentle
as you always do. we sit
at a diner made of fish bones.
eyes as dimes. "this was beautiful,"
i say to my own reflection
in a estuary pool. rustle of branches.
a devil in the trees licks his hands clean.
you pluck me again. wash my face
in an outdoor shower as you ask,
"i wonder how many people
have had sex here?" the beetles
wish they were wedding rings.
my face feels like a motel on the water.
someone on every balcony.
watching the snow cone sun set.