The Sand Poet

By Stephanie Renee dos Santos

Mist volplaned over the bay, obscuring the coastal mountaintops as the poet made her way down the stone staircase, balancing on her cane. She lowered herself onto the rounded rocks, sidestepping patches of seaweed, then walked out across the sand, water seeping into her footprints.

She drew her shawl tight across her breast and pulled on the tip of her braid, a woven strand of silver-white. She cast her eyes over the piles of jumbled kelp, scanning for sea treasures brought in from the night tide.

Gulls lifted and settled in scattered groups.

She made her way along the shoreline, her walking stick trailing behind, scratching a warbled path into the wind-blown crust.

Bluffs of sand bulged from the fore dunes and she skirted their tufted bases.
She paused as wet gusts blew up the shore.

Gazing to sea, she watched the waves pile in on top of each other, like seals vying for a space upon a sun-warmed beach.

She sat down, knees bunched up.

Breezes continued to roil as the words swelled up, rushing in, sweeping over the topography of her heart-mind, seeking their exit from her hands.

She stood up and grasped her stick.

And began to trace characters, plucking them from her mind-froth and organizing. She cut each letter, each word, into the earth.

Each day gave a new poesy, a new phrase or the rearranging of old clauses, ideas.Leaving the words there, etched in sand, for all to read and act upon: the beach walker, the tourist, the shore birds, the fishermen, the crabs, the children, the winds, the sea. Free verse left for a short time, before the tides, the rains, the wind, a group of playing children, or an absent minded adult tromped atop them.

At the poem’s end, she thinks yes, that’s it and accepts its fate: impermanence. Come and clean her thoughts away, her passions, her miseries, her hopes, her wishes, her word play, away, away, away.

Lowering herself to the shore, next to the ode, she stares over the sea, smelling the brine and algae, feeling the clamminess on her face, the aliveness of the moment.

Rays of sunlight burn through the mist, highlighting the ocean, distant islands of light; the clouds parting, making way for the sun to come down and be with earth.

Limitless, she thinks…

For the rest of the story please purchase: Lalitamba, issue #6 January, 2014

* This debuted in literary journal Lalitamba, issue #6 January, 2014

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