How to ruin a day at the beach

Gracious and insistent, the ocean directs its waves of divinations
Toward the umbrellas that veil you, the sodas that water you, the paperbacks that hook your attention.

Sunk in your lounge chair,
You drift in sympathy to a mental undertow that questions whether
Your car can hold you after the bombardment of solstice light, whether
The dog you left at home has gone numb from the heat, whether
The traffic will allow you back to reshoulder your citizen responsibilities.

Finely hewn men, slicker than warming popsicles, toss toys and laughs across the sand.
Their women aren’t cheering them—
They recline listless, doped by the broiling spectrum of the sun.

It feels late, even though the pummeling sun shows no sign of giving way to night.
The children have stopped digging, bored because they have found no spiky creatures.
Bedrock lies farther down than anyone could imagine.
No Taj Mahals of the imagination sprang from the silicon substrate,
So they have thrown away their enterpreneurial shovels.

The black sea nettles of your imagination lurk among the badminton nets, hot dog stands, surfboard rentals,
Flailing your choice to visit the beach today.
Even though excursioners stroll cheerily among the dunes,
Hawkers celebrate the hundredth cone sold,
And toddlers marvel over the ebullience of the battering tide
That declares the oncoming end of one last perfect day.

Andy Oram
October 21, 2017

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