Last Day at the Beach

“Last Day at the Beach,” New Era, Aug. 1999, 51

Last Day at the Beach

At eight in the morning

on a Saturday

beneath an overcast sky,

I wander across the boardwalk

of weather-beaten planks

to the deserted beach below.

Eleven seagulls sleep nearby,

their left legs tucked up, for warmth.

The sand is cool

on my bare feet.

I sit just above the damp tide mark,

brushing the smooth sand

into a wide arc

with my hands.

The tide edges forward,

and an almost blue mussel shell,

broken in half,

rolls and tumbles

briefly in the shallow froth,

Before it is carried

once more out of sight.

I stand and brush

the sand off my legs;

skirting a broken bottle,

I walk towards

the three-foot chain-link fence

surrounding our beach house.