I haven’t been to the beach in a very long time.
My mother says the waves make her
nauseous- sorry, nauseated
(My mother’s an English major).
Last week, I went to the beach.
I hated the sand.
I hated the sun (sunscreen
every 15 minutes for this
untoasted marshmallow skin).
I hated the wind tangling my hair.
I hated the salt water spilling
without my permission
past my lips, and teeth, and tongue.
I liked watching the waves.
While my friends napped on towels
or laughed in the roiling sea,
I felt my eyes forever pinned on the waves.
The water pulls and tugs at itself,
folds and bends and crinkles.
It builds itself into towers that,
like Babylon, must fall.
They tumble in so many droplets
still a single wall of water.
It crashes against the surface,
a blow shattering both victim and fist.
It rolls across the ocean surface,
splitting, reforming, colliding.
The wave turns to so many smaller
bubbling crests that race one another
across the shallow shore.
They trip and surge and stumble,
smoothing into a a sheet over the sand,
a calm caress of water against my toes
before the next skyscraper, already plummeting,
sucks it back for the dramatic impact,
the collision of earth and sea
because everywhere is sky.
I know why the Greeks thought horses sprang from the surf.
What else could breed such stampeding graceful power?
The tide came for our towels, and we left.
Our bags full of sand,
my feet scratched from constant abrasion,
feeling sticky and grainy all over.
I would have rather gone camping.
But I liked watching the waves.