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Fort Ebey

August 9, 2016

Our feet carved lines in gravel, loose within
the bed eroded from the bluff (they sought
for rest inside the roots of hardy plants);
and grasses, sharply bladed, did the same:
before the barnacles at ocean’s edge
could match them line for line they dipped their quills
in our red ink, and carved in silence names
and stories that would not be read until
our language changed and barnacles inscribed
the characters anew; but, even then,
the sea spoke louder, clearer; hear, the cold
assaulting, creeping up our shorts, the taste
of salt inside our mouths. Our feet were clean
and braced against the waves; above the crash,
embraced, we listened to the ocean sing
and laughed to know the words, the song, the dance.

Along the beach, the lines upon our feet
found voice, or we found ears. The sting was just
the words; the message was not pain: the grass,
the barnacles, with sharpness whispered, “Love!”
In thin, crisscrossing lines upon our feet
our journey said, “Rejoice, be soft, remember.”

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