(Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral)


Ahead, the Atlantic foams at the mouth,
roars and snaps its jaws
like a rabid dog. Separated from us
by balding scalps with sea oats
jutting up for hair-
spiked strands the wind can’t comb.

The wind is an ancient stylist,
complains of his plight in my ears.
A billion years he’s combed beaches. Now
he cups a glass palm over my mouth,
rips my words silent with his force.

Sand embeds in my soles:
shell fragments, crushed bones
spit up by the ocean like owl pellets
the sea gulls pick clean of meat-
they skirt my path and shriek for more.


We crunch out to the jetty’s shadow
where the Atlantic separates from itself,
a water-paved driveway ships come to park on.
Departing cruise lines belch, then drift into specs-

the grey finger of lumped rocks
points their way. A fisherman
on the docks waves as they pass;
he’s pitched and pulled his line all night.
We gape as he yanks another catch.

It’s a damned soul that thrashes his line;
he drowns it on air.
As we approach its o-mouth huffs
for breath, then submits with a thump
to the morgue of his cooler.


Like the fish, I once tugged your pole;
the line you caught me with still
reels me in to you- and your hook, scooped
through the flesh of my upper lip,
bleeds me the color
dawn stains the water.

©Shawn Nacona Stroud

*This poem was previously published in the January 2009 issue of Word Catalyst Magazine.

*Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral, FL