KIRBY OLSON

★ ★ ★ ★

POETRY

Ocean Cities

Molluscs and starfish litter the beach,
connoting endless life, as couples
stroll. Children play in the surf,
released from schools.

My boy rides the waves with his
boogie board, surfing on the
impulse of water molecules, as a
pink sunset ameliorates the sea.

Surfers further out relinquish the
day in cubicles to glide along the
surface like shorebirds.

Adams’ apples gulp green sodas.
A former lieutenant forgets
Afghanistan, home again with a
former stripper,
now plump with child, chatting
on her cell.

Along the liminal line, the wedding
of sea and shore produces millions
of children;
it is dotted with pink umbrellas, as
goods move in transatlantics; and
sportier craft rough through the
shallows.

Falstaff and Hotspur were wedded
to death, as were Romeo and
Juliette.

Lear and MacBeth paid fealty to
corpses.

Here, among the shallows, before
the deeps, intact families rest upon
the sands,
in swimsuits they constantly adjust.
Amphibious personnel in scuba gear
and with metal finders stroll—

Babies sprawl on beach towels in
turquoise lullabies;
terns puzzle in zigzags, as
submarines offshore
gather intel;
and weekend pirates doubloon non-
reactive metals.

Far away, museums speak in
deadening circles; heirs chatter
in urban squares; falcons fly to their
mark, but hit window panes.

At sunset, we pack up oils and
blankets,
to return to jobs as plainclothes
mall cops, and managers of 7-11s.
We rinse off ankles before a spigot.
We brush off wallets, and watches,
which have gathered sand, and
rejoin Time.

Photo by Riikka Olson

Kirby Olson is a poet living in the western Catskills. His work has appeared in Partisan Review, First Things, Christianity and Literature, and many others.  His most recent collection is Christmas at Rockefeller Center (Wordtech, 2015). He teaches philosophy and creative writing at SUNY-Delhi.

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