Lightning roots deep into the sand,
donning an instant sheath of glass:
a seemingly pointless exercise in self-glove.
Clap of thunder.
Could it be, though, that radiance tires of itself?
Nowhere in the alleged blackness of space
is there any relief from the ticking,
pulsing, clusterfucks of stars
except on cold planets.
Who can blame lightning
for burrowing in like a tick?
Even we humans, full of darkness as we are,
go on pilgrimage to the ocean,
dream of girls with gills,
get buried up to our necks in sand
or swim with porpoises, whose
capacity for joy we suspect
of exceeding our own.
We go back to the sea like adopted children
paying a visit to our birth mother,
hoping that she’ll show some sign
she regrets giving us up:
some whelk, some dead star.
We tell prospective partners how
we love long walks on the beach
because it’s the deepest thing
we can think to say.
But only someone who knows the shore
well enough to recognize what she doesn’t know
will stop to pick up an odd
sandstone lump, & find
that it hides black glass.
She’ll sight through the short smooth tube,
hold it up to the sun like a sextant.