Last Trip to the Island

Last Trip to the Island
by erin belieu
You’re mad that I can’t love the ocean,
but I’ve come to this world landlocked
and some bodies feel permanently strange.
Like any foreign language, study it too late and
it never sticks. Anyway,
we’re here aren’t we? —
trudging up the sand, the water churning
its constant horny noise, an openmouthed heavy
breathing made more unnerving by
the presence of all these families, the toddlers
with their chapped bottoms, the fathers
in gigantic trunks spreading out their dopey
circus-colored gear.
How can anyone relax
near something so worked up all the time?
I know the ocean is glamorous,
but the hypnosis, the dilated pull of it, feels
impossible to resist. And what better reason to
resist? I’m most comfortable in
a field, a yellow-eared patch
of cereal, whose quiet rustling argues for
the underrated valor of discretion.
And above this, I admire a certain quality of
sky, like an older woman who wears her jewels with
an air of distance, that is, lightly,
with the right attitude. Unlike your ocean,
there’s nothing sneaky about a field. I like their
ugly-girl frankness. I like that, sitting in the dirt,
I can hear what’s coming between the stalks.

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