The moon sank in rough seas, a slick
of weak stars, a cold wind from the west,
tall waves tipping into a white seethe.
I’m drawn to this stretch of March sand
where a huge spotlight a half-mile away
is pointed seaward from a motel roof.
Hundreds of gulls flicker like confetti
in the bright beam, cries rip the dark,
white wings plunge into thick schools—
a picture of chaos. But I’m not out here
for solace, just the habit of early
air along this hard unflattering edge.
Every year the tides churn away sand,
swallow boats and swimmers, or send
a bull shark into the shallows for blood.
The wind keens and flattens the sea oats
then suddenly drops to a whisper,
as if to mock my mood, tease me away
from some simple last line. At the motel
when I reach it, the gulls, all of them,
have settled on the surface, a rich lull,
a brilliant spackling of white on black
and a scent of bacon frying that floats out
and sweetens what darkness remains.