For Thursday, a poem

–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

complicated directions

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.


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