Ocean to me is close enough to God—gray,
impenetrable, tide-muscled, a brawler. Unseen
fist that has clouted me airless more than once.

Repetitive. Answer always oblique, spitting
its sharps in harangues of salt, its froth in murmur.
Abrader and buoy, both. Antagonist. Beguiler.

A cradle, but also, the scene of the crime; I return
and return. Not braving pummel, but submitting
to it. At smack of wave, offering only the body’s

negotiations. Over me, a choir of gulls, their one
note, indignant. Each inch forward, a reluctant
confession. Each inch backward, a pardon in sand.