Boy Returns to Water to Wash Sand From His Feet

Flame. Vein. Fissure. The lightning
strikes a nearby pier and electrifies
the shore, shocks his body to still—

and you wonder why I’m so afraid
of living. When the sky opens up
to remind us that, no, the vast Pacific

is not impenetrable; it isn’t just
what cuts circles in the water around you
that you should fear. When three

commercial jets come down in a summer.
You tell me that it’s safer than barreling
down a highway, but the sky wants you

to know it is not your heaven. It will rain
on you however it can until you begin
to understand. It will tell the ocean

to rise toward the clouds and swallow
your beach house. It has sacrificed
your son. You should have painted

blood on the jamb. I opened my artery
and sugar poured out—lucky, I’m childless.
Lucky, cyst-riddled. Lucky to know so well

what’s got my number. In the mountains,
the trees bend like spinsters, boughs branching
their fingers to the dirt. Lucky, what struck here

was sickness, slow and grounded in stone.