The Fool on the Shore

I.

He surveys the wide expanse

of white, tropical sand that glowers

into his face,

& the solitary red rose

he throws into the trough of the waves:

nothing so theatrical about it

but a cavalier mode to signal

the day’s usual loss:

There was no one to remember, anyway,

but the remembering itself

that cuts like a knife

& the long scar tells him how silly

it is to take offense against the sea

which grieves not,

& returns his voice borne on the raft of wind,

like a crush of cymbals…

He picks up the pieces of the blue water

that break against the shore:

He cannot decipher the puzzle of it-

he can only feel the sting of the blast

& the plot of sand opening under his feet.

Yes, everything in a day’s stroll

like a cop on his dutiful patrol.

These things happen on the beat everyday.

No reason to panic, nor quit the harbor.

II

If there’s no history between them,

what’s there to grieve?

If there’s no memory between them,

what’s there to remember?

Don’t ever look back, old fools say,

lest the heart turn into a fistful of salt.

But nights, he keeps tossing in his bed,

the zero-sum slamming

like a hangman’s noose into his face.

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