i. soft sand
is hard to walk on. gives out either way. wind carves inhalation into scrub. dune’s breath collapsing. beneath feet, drift’s weep. see how tangling melaleuca scribbles what was, sedge clings to ledge. when we talk about the tide reclaiming, we forget how far it hungers. where once a ridge, absence. take off shoes: let erosion carry you as you struggle to steady.
remember all the ways you shaped the world? how the bucket lists to fold metropolis across shore. moat, turret, seashell window. in miniature, the architecture is unique to each small pair of hands which gift it. see spade wade into the earth to give us structure. enthralled with sprawl, the child builds until nightfall. tomorrow, new world washed clean.
iii. pre-liminal sand
is between hard and soft. here, writing dissolves, is wet on the surface. when dog runs through, their poem is a scrape and leap, scurry and delete of chasing ball. seagulls nestle in wind’s wrestle: a momentary pause. this is the crest. look west, see how waves evolve. beyond, Perth Canyon sleeps. leviathan is such a pretty word.
when you tell your mother about the different types of beach sand, she worries about quicksand. even though it doesn’t exist here. she is so used to having a child swallowed by all the paths they plot themselves. how once you were inhaled, whole, by a glacier. now she looks toward the line where the sun dies, hopes to never find your name written there.
v. liminal sand
is the best sand to walk on. we call this the poet’s path, because here is where the poem slaps the shore. a rhythmic encroach of prosody, littered with comb. blowie sate on burley and bait. sea wrack stacks decay. sea lettuce sway. here, take driftwood and inscribe a story for the ocean to eat, again and again. walk toward closure.
vi. bathing sand
you, who leaps into the void: of your thoughts; off the page; of an ocean. jostle lap rip, the current is electrical as it shocks you to swim. pull tide through the keys of a board, nib of a pen. ← Backspace shall erase in the same way saltwater removes the words you trace. yet sand swims to play and sing inside togs. brink, cling to groin.
vii. sole sand
the beach always finds a way to come home. usually between toes. crisp crust of ringed sole. silica halo. sometimes it only makes it to the car: fin white, ghosting memory of surf and salt, driven. or awakens in bed, like a one night stand. recount all the ways you brush it off. it will return with each return, cling to you as if you are beach, stretching to world’s end.
viii. unseen sand
caught in a box. incalculable to the eye. you are standing on a beach, in a blue gown sequined with spume, counting. compact all the ways down. each grain has a universe inscribed on it. your mind fills in the blanks of all the realities it cannot fathom. us, pressed up against us: a hymn of infinites. every millennia, the beach renews itself.