The Same Water

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The water comes in, sheets

with no words on them

just in then

erasing themselves without trying,

back

out.

The pink Kansas toenails I have

in the water

from where

the sign says, “No other languages,”

so the Vietnamese ladies are all quiet,

or speak to us,

in Kansas.

 

The pink toenails the blackish

east-coast rocks that are triangles

and

full of mica as shiny

as fillings.

The pink Kansas toenails my paleish

but slightly dyed feet tops

as I begin

for the spring

slightly dyeing my

feet and calves to not look so

marked in the sun, with little

plum-colored branch veins that show

now, and my running-into-desks

bruises and places I cut myself

shaving and the bumps it leaves which

I was not

told about when I was told

to shave my legs

by

magazines

and

I guess are not pretty… old

enough to have such veins (they are called

spiders), young

enough to try to cover them, old

enough to try halfheartedly.

 

On this beach there

is the cheapness

in the summer

of music and brown bodies

all summer rubbing around like bees

it is not summer yet

though

today

the

beach is

99%

sand and

1% people

and the beach which I

like because it is free also one

must watch

one’s feet

for

fragments

not to

press your foot

your whole

weight

on, not

get hurt,

the beach is free.

 

When I was eight I was

lost on the east beach and

maybe the most afraid I had been

and my grandpa found me and

I was also afraid then as

he did not discipline me, but I

didn’t know if he would, and

he didn’t but we

saw a man die.

 

My grandpa with his big white belly that

could

turn

red, burned

after all day

and the dead man

actually

white,

white all over.

My grandpa giving up

butter,

my dad

salads for

lunch every

day,

faithful now.

 

The man had

drowned

and

was

white

dead.

 

My grandpa I remember

chuckled a lot that was his

word: chuckle.

at sand crabs, at us,

at whatever

someone had said and

I think if he had lived

longer he might

have taught me not to

take my life so

seriously

anyway

he might have said, “Tell

your dad

this,”

when my dad was estranged from me

I was eighteen

but anyway my

Dad

and I

were back

within

six months

maybe three it seemed

like

a long time.

 

My grandpa did not

die on that beach

and my dad did not

either

but like the man on the

beach Grandpa did die of a

heart attack, and split-second

ten minutes at most

I was eighteen.

 

The point is he found me and

I was all right,

led back to our towels

and our buckets

and shovels

and our sand crabs

and our bottle of

sun tan lotion

back to our spot

of the beach, needing

no reprimand.

I rarely did, do, I

have scared myself enough.

 

The first time I came

To this beach there was

no sand to

see

only people’s

98.6 degree hot corpses 4th of July

weekend and we were sweaty

from the bus already when we

made it and we walked between people like

the whole

beach was the Met (where we

also went) and all the seats were

full and we had seats in the

orchestra pit where I have

never sat, not

being a good

sight

reader

(for scores)

up through the

crowd we

went

and the water

was there

was a

surprise

because you could not

see

ahead

of

you and it

was

there on

my feet, the

Atlantic

And it is on my feet

 

This water

though

is different

despite what

a sailor

said

in an article

last week:

“This is the same

water

Columbus

sailed

on.”

It isn’t.

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