Sunsets in the Sand

White sand, soft as talcum powder,

so different from the coarse grains

of Lake Michigan.  Gulf waters glint

and glitter, and my soul keeps time

to waves as they break the shore.

Birds on thin stilts yield a path as I near,

and pelicans overhead cast pterodactyl

shadows.  I watch one fold its wings,

become an exclamation point

in a racing dive toward a surprised

fish, then return to the sky with a full

orange grin.  I am giddy as a child

watching fireworks, seeing this cartoon

creature—its body borrowed from

a prehistoric time—turn sleek,

powerful, graceful in an instant.

Here there are many reminders

of primordial Earth:  an ancient ocean

surrenders its pulverized flora

and fauna.   Shell fragments on the shore

hold all the colors of a Florida sunset,

millennia of days ending, hardened into

bone, forged in coral, lavender and pink.


Later in the week I lunch at a revolving

restaurant, fifteen stories high.

Islands lace the intercostals, bend

under the weight of skyscrapers.

A flock of pelicans flies past at eye level,

and suddenly I long for wet sand

between my toes, yearn to be far

from this steel structure with its birds’

eye view, where I can see for miles but

cannot feel a pelican’s shadow, or know

that sunsets are scattered in the sand.

—Cynthia J Lee

Gulf Coast Beach_email 2

Gulf Coast Beach, Florida (16 x 20, Oil, cold wax, sand, charcoal on wood)

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