Recrimination on the Edge


by Stephen Dunn
Whaleback steamer on the fall of horizon,
convex, flying a flag that blurs in dusklight, west-
bound, knot speed not much, at least not from the lub
of land where you sit building sand castles
on the ocean’s lip, preferring
the snail-shell roar to the real thing, meticulous
with your clothes and clock time, obeying
the orderliness of land and thinking the sea
on this calm day is wild, wild in its seeming
disregard, its jello-shouldered shrugging, its confidence,
like that of a woman with secrets, of irresistible come-
on. Gray speck. The whaleback steamer, suitor
with sea guts, your diminution,
adversary, nail bed — already past the first wet kiss — turns
you to your Mustang parked on the cliff and memories
of beautiful women, stared at, and left; duck soup.