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At Ocracoke

ISSUE:  Winter 1991

This silver light could dissolve everything
into one substance. Already the borders
of sand and ocean and air are unclear,
and people down the beach glitter
and shift like bluish chips of jewels
washed in from some old shipwreck
and left to mix with the seaweed strips.

Even what’s up close wears the blueness
of distance: a styrofoam cup; these half-sunk
slivers of fishbones; your dingy running shoes
dangling from the hand that swings, familiar,
beside me. So we walk, letting the cold foam
rush about our ankles and recede;
letting the waves take what talk might be

between us now, as though they could form
answer to our longings. We split our attention
between the curving, fading line of shore
that we’d like to follow forever
and the beautiful broken shells
dropped at our feet by the water
to remind us to love our imperfect selves.


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