Christina Burress: beach

Fall '06 TOC

Swash zones begin
where waves crest
reach to extend

fingers white water reach
seize greenish yellow clay
silt stone wall

a strata of oyster shells
dusky yellow quartz and feldspar
overlain thick orange sediment

a Mira Mesa owl burrows
where buckwheat finds a foot
Come here! Touch the middle Eocene

forty-eight million years
a tectonic meaning
abiding advancement

sands rise cliffs erode
groundwater seeps
emergent coast

stop it
a seawall
a sea WAUL
by the Sea

A former scout of Buffalo Bill
markets the beach
with a 1886 calling card:

a natatorium in the surf
double pier pilings
bedded in ocean rock

wire netting to wood enclosure
timid bathers sink and swim
without fear of stingray or under tow

like the prow of a ship
brunting against smashing breakers
buffering holiday makers from wake.

It’s one hundred twenty years later
most is gone, still, from above
where unstable sandstones bluff

between railroad and reef
unaware beachcombers pass histories
footprints reveling in low tide.

where trains still pass
a stump in memoriam
a four story pavilion

ghosts now, spinning poems
and Quadrille dancers
at the casa fire fells dreams

broken board dilapidation bids bonfires
boardwalk planks decay under weeds
memories occupy million dollar lots

gulls and strollers steer clear
rabbits dart squirrels disappear
as electric steel beast sends

wild mustard a waft
in nexus of whoosh
and stampede

Fifteenth street wades into worn pilings
low hiders in flow
extend a thousand feet more

visitors enticed by plank stroll
salty air beyond shore —
This pier for the Caucasian race only —

Exclude whom from seeing foam?
Formidable Nature posits reform
responding with forty-two storms

she swamps and sinks precarious airs
appearances affected by vandalizing decay.
It’s just a matter of time

till frogman lay primacord and TNT
exploding spile to stump
commingle history with cobble

a surfer’s spot
a mollusk junction
cling to permanence

like riprap barriers
protecting unobstructed views
of chaise lounge family rooms.

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