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The tide is ruthless
how it drags and tears at the shoreline
ebbing and flowing like your night visits.
I have beached myself on this marriage
trusting you to keep me wet, my
song a bone pinning me down, as loveless
as a two-armed starfish trapped in dulse.
Only in the moonlight am I svelte again,
the black shadows of my curves
bleeding away.

Each day the blue defeats me: the sky,
the ocean, your eyes — shading mine
with a book I cannot get into, reading
the unreadable over and over while
crabs crawl back to their beds and you
to a gin-and-lemon and a Glass CD. I
am becalmed by the waves; subdued
by the whispers of silicon
and the screams of gulls diving
for marooned fish.
I cannot remember when you last loved me,
thoughts flow into each other like rain
blending into the waves.

I have spent these quiet days
dreaming of the sound of lovemaking:
the fat women in their two-pieces; young girls
in Speedos; the woman I once was
strolling the beach in glaring yellow,
a barely-there bikini, the sudden
jerk of male heads, the slow look;
and your footprints sucking moisture through the sand.

I have composed these songs for you.
The ocean's memory echoes in my wide throat
cascades around this beached form
across the sand
into the sea, out
into the sulphurous marsh behind the dunes
where redwings join me,
crying to the sky.

      — Joy Hewitt Mann