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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