Holding still like seaweed strung in a slack tide,
I see the ghost of you cresting a dune, hip-
boots sunk with saltwater and sand.
You come to me bearing nothing,
a line without a lure flapping over your
sodden shoulder. I say you give up
too easy, your gulf stream upbringing
is no match for the North Atlantic,
waves split-raw and spitting at you.
Maybe this place is my gatekeeper,
my flat and reed-grown shore hung
with a cross of stars, those four
cardinal virtues. You always lacked
prudence, temperance, fortitude—
But high tide lies down docile this year,
and we would have hooked into bluefish
without getting our feet wet. We would
have drunk wine from tumblers and broken
the old iron bed from its rickety headboard.
Now your parting justice comes rambling
up the east coast. As you choose the tawdry
oil-slicked waters of a southern bay, I curl up
in a northern current so electric I forget my name.