She stepped ahead of their walking, perhaps

catching him unaware because she knew

they both needed to believe this moment,

that something strange there had manifested

and they had to agree on what it was,

like the way she often stole the glasses

from his face when he pointed things out,

pretending she’d acquired his myopia,

blinking through kaleidoscopic visions,

asking how he managed to see anything

with such bottlecapped binoculars,

obscuring her seeing by wearing them

and his by not, so they could both not see

and see the same thing together at once.


She stepped ahead and spun round to face him,

acknowledging in confidence the view,

the glassy, marbled shoreline of the beach,

and sand as smooth as mud caking their feet.

To her its very instance seemed untrue,

the partition of the sea dividing

one sun setting and drawing a banner

of clouds streaked orange-red, one sun rising

diaphanous and orbed in the ocean,

and not one grain was undiscovered,

not one thing was but orange and darkly.

The plovers skittered in lines like black ants,

and the tide’s stomach returning seaward

relinquished the bones of its appetite,

bleached sand dollars, hermit shells, and driftwood.


She reached back, her eyes soliciting his,

the world behind her without an easel

yet they framed it within one another.

And then she was gone, half-skipping ahead,

her feet slapping the rhythmic undertow,

arms raised as if to grab at the seams

the very curtains of the ocherous sky.

He remained chary at her departure

until she was orange and vanishing,

footprints between them ebbed smoothly away.


And then the world itself was like a lens,

and through such immensity he saw her

the fragile and glittered arch of her back

was not unlike the sallow looking-glass

of some beached and berthing crystal jelly.

And what was he, she glancingly reviewed,

but the slim figure of a curled matchstick

marooned on the horizon and curve,

become in that moment for each other

such immense flotsam, such tiny jetsam?

R. Charboneau

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