Beach Reading

A poem
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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.

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

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