The beach becomes a barrier when it bruises at dusk,
blue black like midnight dolphins chasing the tide.
My feet feel the cold friction of the sand, and the wheels
of our portable canopies cease their rotation. Though no fog forms
on my breath I can see my words, arching over the Pacific.
A college couple shares a joint near the collapsing space of the surf,

The ocean opens itself like a book , he says, or a lover, she adds.
Maybe we are looking at different oceans, the water taunts me
like an echo in reverse, the history of the future concludes
with this moment, between its permutations I rise and search
for a beer. My companions have setup base camp and as I arrive
twelve travelers heap onto the sand, in various states of drunk,

tired, and bored. When her neighbor snores she rises and agrees to go
for a walk. We cleave the beach between the water and the dry dunes,
to our left silhouettes spill from hotel rooms in a soundless dance,
they circle around the campfires that project their ambling figures
onto the beachfront walls, and the shadows drink, crushing phantom beers
against phantom skulls. She says, I just want to be chased, but I hear

I don’t want to be caught. A siren is singing somewhere,
and a fisherman is going slowly insane without knowing why
and we, all four of us, are staring into the same stars.
The conversation continues playfully, flirting in the dark
with faith and its absence. You don’t want to marry me,
she tells the pre-dawn fog, where I can’t tell if words vanish

or linger. We reach an impassable jetty, the spine of an ocean creature
so vast and terrible it could only be killed by scoliosis. As we turn
we are greeted by the vertical lights of the pier, stretching,
mixing, the horizon seems like a Jackson Pollock bleeding.
As we walked our depressions in the sand filled with liquid light,
ocean filled runways to Mexico. If we had two kids,

I said, one could be Christian and one agnostic, but she claims
there is a difference between balance and harmony. Day came
before the sun, and the specters spun their shadows to skin.
The vast and empty night quickly became communities,
the summer veterans began propping their beach roofs,
and as our walk was ending, and the evening's images broke

into their embers we shared one last look, and behind her
the ocean swatted white capped pages of its empty chapters,
life telescoping, until the decades synced with the waves
and the words cantered so quickly that my entire future
was uttered in a sigh, the last waking word of a girl,
rolling onto her makeshift pillow, a pile of sand, depressed
into the shape of a child’s face.