The given: sumac, iris, summer rain
and sparkling asphalt steam on Lighthouse Lane.
A shirtless hardhat swigs a beer, reclines
beside a DANGER: PEOPLE WORKING sign.
Why here? This is the place where echoes go
to die, where history’s brisk undertow
deposits mussel, horseshoe crab and whelk:
the ocean roaring in a fist of chalk.

If steam is water’s memory, then mist
reclaims a continent submerged—iris
and ditch digger adrift in sleepy beds;
the sumac swamped by thick Atlantic weeds.

If A, then B. The street recounts its Rome;
the hands recall their clay, the mind its moon.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 9 Number 4, on page 47
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