Mason’s Inlet, Late Afternoon
This is a place where currents mesh,
here brackish meets brine—a chiaroscuro
of whitecap and wave. You tell me that
at low tide, you can walk across this channel.
On the far shore, a row of houses hover like scenery
on an empty stage hours before actors recite
their pre-determined lines. But today,
the tide is unnaturally high, a lens of water
stretched by an unseen moon. Our bodies
are also brine, pulled by currents
we can’t always name—nothing drastic,
just a slow unweaving. Have you noticed
how my fingers spread for your clasp less often,
that when you touch my knee, my leg shifts away?
We walk back to the parking lot where
water drips from a hose, wet sand spreading
across asphalt like a diorama of a flood zone.
A pair of discarded flip-flops a few feet away
from an orphaned white sock, stained and sopping;
the tang of salt air similar to the scent of sex’s aftermath.
Within minutes, you nose the car toward the inscrutable
windows of home, each reflecting the evening’s last
soft light—petals of salmon and pink. Upstairs,
vents breathe their cooled air across the bed;
the ceiling fan stirs up the particular nothingness
of an uninhabited room. Can you sense the current
of the chimney swifts circling overhead, returning
to their uncapped home—a dark vortex
of feathers, falling?