You give and you take away:
Polished stones, broken baby shells,
Jellyfish and bits of crab,
Come November the remains of sand dollars,
A carcass, sometimes, of a sea lion
Drift wood and concrete
(Part of a house or pier?);
It all comes and goes.
You give joy rides to surfers,
But pull the unsuspecting, unprepared,
Innocent, naive or daring
Off the continental shelf
Into the vastness.
Loved ones lay flowers and altars,
But you take those, too, in time.
You give us a place to see the horizon
Without anything in the way
Except perhaps a container ship
Or our egos.
You remind us that infinity
Created the grains of sand
That cling to our shoes
And follow us back to our safe homes,
Where our carpets curse your memory
Until we get our vacuums out.
But when it’s time to give our dogs a good run,
We embrace you once again.
We come and go.
You give and you take away.