Something less irreverent

A Day at the Beach

I was at that age
when even the calmest of inner strands
could be Atlanticised
by the sight of a low-slung waistband

or by spotting the one letter x
in a densely-typed sea of catechism:
the beach was a semi-circle of hell.
Portly torsos, viewed through the prism

of post-infancy, looked white
and crudely triangular as ninety-nines.
Still, they struck the water
into squalls as I lay sizzling and supine.

They made the far ends wobble
and froth with heat;
shingle cracked against itself like popcorn.
Bodies swirled, scraps of goosebump meat

in a swill-thin minestrone.
Every wave was a footfall of God,
unanimously loud, a sound
that soothed, a sound that scolded.

Of course, I never noticed the hills behind me
like breasts above a corset of sand,
or that a fishing boat was slipping
into the fine slit of the horizon.

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