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I carve words onto paper
the way I once gashed my left arm
to savor the burn as if pleasure.
It’s the same blood-spring
which used to coat my father’s buck knife
I etch into images on pages of flesh
that scar to form my poems.

©Shawn Nacona Stroud

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

(Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral)

………………….I

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.

………………….II

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.

………………..III

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.

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*Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral, FL

(For Mary Jones)

When the sonic boom rattles her
windows- she’s forgotten
about Atlantis landing at Kennedy,
how it explodes through the atmosphere
with the boom-boom sound of bomb strikes.

She bolts out of bed;
dawn spotlights her pruned face,
hair bristles of sun-bleached straw- faded
like moonlight in morning’s glow.

Her ears hear Hitler’s ravens
buzz over London again:
bomb thunder, smoke, screams
have invaded her dreams.

She leaves her bedroom
the girl she once was, grabs
a doll that’s her pillow
and runs for the bomb shelters
with the other survivors in Orlando.

©Shawn Nacona Stroud

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

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*Atlantis landing at Kennedy Space Center

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