–for some reason, wordpress didn’t keep my original line arrangement. Ah, well. Hot off the press, my friends, freshly written in a taxi this morning to work.
The Last Day
The sand in Hainan is white, the color of
the tender flesh of green coconuts
that sunbruised vendors sell from
their carts by the beach,
product of washing and rolling,
shuffling and reshuffling
by the warm waves that
paint my feet indigo blue each time they come.
[hacking and splitting the shells open
with two short blows from their large knives,
they make an incision small enough for a straw
to suck the coconut milk, the cool, liquid
It’s all destined, the people tell me—
it’s just the way the ocean
has lapped the sand for on and on,
rolled each fine grain of sand
like a sweet lozenge under the tongue,
abrade each rock to pebble,
each shell to glitter.
You recognize the ocean
by what it doesn’t leave behind.
The waves come and go,
crash and re-gather,
I let them gently slosh against my toes,
planting wet kisses
on each tiny nail.
the dry air throbs with echo of their roar.
They never tire of this loop
of rush and retreat.
Living out their eternity by repetition,
[like the man who sells salted duck eggs in two wicker baskets
in front of my workplace,
like the taxi I hail each morning—
a different driver, I explain the
again and again.
They ask the same questions.
The process gets easier,
repetition becomes easier
because things give way to it
and everyday is not the same–]
There is comfort in knowing
what comes next, but terror in inevitability.
One day even my memories of the blue beaches
in Hainan where I grew up will be washed
to memories then to words,
I will run into the boy I once loved on the streets
and feel nothing.
How it all goes away, all reaches equilibrium, all turns to sand
so gorgeous and white like
a blank page.