all the devil’s pocketbooks on the beach

are dried up.

skate’s egg cases.


bubbles in moist sand:

form tickles

drifting shards of shell,

waves sprit.


in the morning

crab tracks, endless scores,

fan our from scattered dens.


the ocean paints the beach.


the hook pops the worm,

and blood oozes red.

as I cast, the pier rolls

with the waves.

what hungry creatures fish

must be!


along highways, and at the end

of coves, graveyards bordered

by cinder blocks shift.


oak shrubs cling to leeward side

of dunes stretching along the narrow

ridge of sand marking the outer banks.


the shed of white on the breaking wave.


next to naked we attack,

split waves, delve into

the constant surface. the skin

rebuffs the charge of brine,

the smash of surf, the soles

of feet sustain the scrape

and chaw of shell and sand.


wind swept grass seeps sand.


breathless and tireless, the child

with bright strawberry hair

runs and avoids horseshoe crabs,

skates, a bluefish, sponges, baby sharks,

sea trout and the nets drug

onto the shore by “Big Daddy’s”

pickup and “Big Mama’s” jeep.


carving the coast

a current flows through sand,

surfaces and waves sand away.


sea oats cling to the dune,

the dune clings to them.


dolphins cruise just beyond

the wave churned waters.

do they break

the surface to see the shore?


the large waves dominate me,

toss me onto the sand,

the weight of a planet.


the shore picks up the waves.

a southerly pushes them over sideways.


the netted creature

kicks a while, then

waits release

as skates flip

sponges lie.


the soft gray broken by the gull’s call.


Copyright James Phoenix 2017

updated 5/7/2017