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At Popham Beach

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Haze of wave spume towards Small Point,
Seguin Island Light like a whale's spout—
maybe life washes itself here, cools off.
It never comes clean. See all the sails up
and full in the windy parade of skin
and sand and brine. Soon the rocks will pluck
each wave's feathers. Soon the beach
like the moon, waning, will be 1/8th its size.
Somewhere else—maybe Ireland—the tide
will bottom out then. For now the sun
blesses the bodies at home in theirs,
and those less so, to ruin and ruin's aftermath—
whatever that is—and the waves rolling in,
little snowplows, nimbus in miniature; how
the beach fishhooks east, one child—
is that mine, or some spirit I was one more
usher of?—face up, arms and legs
scraping a temporary angel in the sand.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2002 issue of Poetry magazine

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At Popham Beach

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