by Mary Jo Balistreri

The splay of light across the deserted beach
greets me as if the swish of a broad brush had just swept
across polished paper. The air glistens like that, alive
with the deep-down freshness that Hopkins speaks of
in his poem, God's Grandeur.

Water clings to tussocks of sea oats
and dune grasses that brush against my arm.
In bare feet I walk toward the opening
in the fence, scrunching my toes into wetness,
enjoying the ooze of sand.

At ocean's edge, the surf rolls rather than crashes.
Sun catches the top of the wave's trough
like the shining in shook foil. Pelicans dive
farther out, a ready supply of fish after the storm.

With my right foot testing the water, it occurs
to me how blessed I am to have been shaped
by a landscape of dualities. I pick up a starfish
on the sand, throw it back in the water, knowing
it probably won't survive.

But I'm here, alive at this moment, alive to hear
the unbroken sound of the ocean, to see a dolphin
leap, and to stir at the sound of your voice,
dead all these years, that still walks with me.


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