Audience of One

a sunday outing

Perhaps there is communion here
within this wayside. Favoring
the private tangled beauty of winter-
silted estuaries as against
the splashy ostentation of the Pacific
drumming on the cold, white sand, mustering
the sun-blear horde to shore nearby,

I turn away, following the overgrowing trail
along the brink. Above, in perfect Escheresque
oblique stagger, the white March terns fly
from the south over the shallows-needling pipers,
a lone whimbrel among them; a bufflehead
with two females in close tow drifts between
the creosote-soaked trestle pilings;

vee's within vee's of the larger vee of geese
wedge the living sky. Twining runners
in the collective panoply of salt grass,
pickleweed, and crimson-touched sea fig
wield the individual eddy at my feet,
the ineluctable order beneath order,
the fractal geometry of consciousness:

reduplicating curlicues of cloud and coast-
lines and wind-waves rippling in verging
sizes across the sand-diked pan and frozen
in cobbled mud, the particulate stranded
in each rolling pass sand-paints the bank
an arcane stratigraphy, record
of the season's tides and rains... like rings

of myself within the meat of me
tottering child, burgeoning stripling, the man,
concentric suppliant... accounting the dwindlings
and freshets in this back way. Look now,
at all the tagelus shells stuck neatly vertical
in the ebb-drained flats, the praying hands
pried open and emptied by the littoral heretic.

Kevin Cornwall © All rights reserved.

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