The Pier

Posted: April 2, 1995 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The pier is flung out past the surf
Into the deep water
Like a sleeper’s unconscious arm
Idly hanging over the edge of the bed.
Sunlight scuba dives for the flickers
Of schools of little fish
And warms the top of the waters –
Where the seaweed loosely hangs
Like bead curtains or piles of laundry. –
Frosting on the cake of the beach.
And the seagulls! Clouds wheeling,
Settling, screeching insults at each other
In the dingy parking lot
At the foot of the pier,
Lone white-breasted panhandlers
Eyeing the people fishing from the deck
From a safe distance.
The swirl of wind-borne sand
By the land-bound pilings,
The whorls of water around its sea legs,
Troughs of wave swells
On their way to the board-straddling surfers
Flash the wealth of sea life
Clinging to the stilled beast.
I leapt off the pier once,
Disobeying one of two white-stenciled laws
That decorate the fading grey-green railings:
One: no jumping or diving;
Two: no overhead casting.
I lost all my air on impact;
Between the shock of wallop and water,
It was all I could do to swim in.
The pier teaches endurance in many ways.

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