Here in the boggy penis of America, the only thing stronger than the Sun is the hammer that flattened everything out back in the days of dinosaurs. There's nothing to stop a person from seeing the sun set across the tabletop of sawgrass, slowly carrying the city away into the sea below a cloudy sky of salmon, turquoise, and lavender, swirling off across the Gulf, draining away with another day.

Nothing, that is, except for cookie cutter developments of stucco houses giving rise to vast oceans of red Spanish tile, and except for the muzzle fire of gangs doing the bidding of cocaine dealers, and except for the person's own blindness as they turn away from the western sky and focus on the things they want to be more pertinent. Themselves, for instance.

Here, though, we had a balcony twelve stories above the ground, the tallest point in its microsecond of latitude, with a view of the west that seemed to go all the way to the end of the world, on the other side of the sawgrass, where people would only venture to take advantage of homestead exemptions. And that sun, I wanted to imagine, was the same sun rising against the wall of Osaka Castle, giving someone else a new day as it took away mine.

When the sun went down and the stars flickered on, the ocean would become gray and void, the sand of the shore damp and cool, and the only light would be dim amber overflow from ancient streetlights, creeping in between the bare walls of condominium towers, and lending the wet sand a faint silvery glimmer. With no sun, no caws of snowbirds, no muffled Canadian French and Long Island English, the only sound from the ocean would be a distant roar. If I didn't know better, I might have chalked it up to the airplanes circling away overhead, lining up to take a thousand people home when I was already as close as I would ever get.

There was one night when the stars were strong, and a creative mind could see the lights of Bimini shining away for the boaters to follow home, but the only lights I could see were the hazard lights on the building tops and those incessant little strokes of glitter running away from me up the shore, as the foam of a thousand Bahamian liquors rushed up with the tide. Beyond the public beach, she was sitting on a Lilliputian dune, arms folded against the breeze from the water.

And when we met in the middle, our bodies clicking together like Lego bricks, curve A into curve B, my hands dusted the wet sand from her jeans as our noses faced off and our lips made fire.

The sun has set across the world a thousand times since then, and the sands of the shore have wilted away to a tiny bar, nearly buried by the high tide. They say it's because of new buildings, because the wind carries the sands away little by little, draining the earth below the towers we constructed. Each time I return, the shore is lonelier beyond the veil of night, swallowed more and more by an ocean that can't hold back.

Yet the waters run warm and salty now, as though the sea were merely filled with tears, splashing against the lip of the beach. So now, I lay back against the tide, watching the stars of a million forgotten nights, and the ocean holds me until I say goodnight, crossing the wet sand and falling back into my ordinary world.