Kirby Wright – Winter at Carlsbad Beach, California

Kirby Wright

Winter at Carlsbad Beach, California

The tourists have fled
after an onslaught of wind and fog.
Kelp stretches in tangles,

strangles the sand.
Seagulls huddle
outside a seaside condo.

Behind a window,
a woman sits at her glass table
playing solitaire.

The ocean is missing its surfers—
it is its own sky,
dark gray and heavy.

A boy throws a stone at the water.
To the south, a power plant
sends yellow blooms

through its tower.
I smell burnt diesel and metal.
A jellyfish has been deposited

at the high tide line.
Here is a body of clear rubber
etched with blue and purple veins.

This casualty requires no x-rays;
I cup my left hand
and dig a grave.

A man with flexing pole
pulls a fish from the shallows.
The gold tail flaps onshore

as furious as a puppy’s.
He slides his blade
through a brain drowning in air.

Now there is blood on the sand
and a man bent over a bucket.
I genuflect at the edge of the continent.

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