Roy Schwartzman • Winter Coherences Along Myrtle Beach

Clouds snake lazy S curves,
aerial reflections
of washboard sand beds
rippling backwash streams
after high tide.
Underfoot, you feel the little ridges
through the soles of your shoes,
watch tidal tendrils worm seaward.

Dyspeptic Baudelaire went wrong somewhere,
never quite digesting separate essences
that should have mingled
unshaken, unstirred
between ideal and spleen.

Old men, hip boots and headphones
who know enough grammar
and have the pedigree to spell South
with a capital S,
sweep the beaches with metal detectors
as if the shore were one giant minefield.
Fully insulated
they exhume relics,
scoop up piles of sand-caked fictions
their children can plunder.

We lunge across the puddles
we used to jump into,
don jackboots so we never
have to walk beaches barefoot.