Beach Reading

A poem

The angles angling down on the ocean’s broken surface,

while overhead the spirit of a remnant vapor trail.

Then half-looking into the sun’s dead reckoning,

enough so that behind the fire in each eye, blood,

but only for the blinding rainbow moment.

Then back to blue, back to the stone-shell colors.

Then the loose scarring—or is it scarves?—

of thinning cirrus clouds floating on the light’s

transparency just above what looks like wings or sails

stroking the horizon. Then in the middle distance

dolphins double plowing to make furrows,

and off and on the diving birds and skimmers.

Then the moony children and the mothers, and simple bodies

wading out to sea, the brightness turning barely into breakers.

Presented by

Stanley Plumly’s most recent collection is Orphan Hours (2012). He teaches at the University of Maryland.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

Video

Is Minneapolis the Best City in America?

No other place mixes affordability, opportunity, and wealth so well.

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In