Friday, October 12, 2012

Saline Flush

A briny whiff away from the coast, just beyond
the plywood-storefront trough of Cloverdale,
in the husk of a barn reborn as a flea market,
in a glass display case, nestled amongst
the souvenir thimbles and novelty salt shakers
stood a plasticine pony, on whose saddle was mounted
a little pickaninny, his head like a scorched buttercup.
Brand new, handmade, wide-eyed and grinning vacantly.

We drove on, past the Holsteins which stood rattling their bells,
past the herons hunched with their spears poised in the shallows.
We laughed at the ubiquitous tsunami warning signs
that depicted a faceless figure chased by a cartoon tidal wave.
We visited the stubby lighthouse that squatted stubbornly on the cape
with its head full of lenses, listened to the crash and hiss of the tide
that combed the crags with its foamy fingers.

At the end of the day, we wove inland through the sitka forests,
my feet half-buried in balled-up receipts and cracked mussel wings,
while far behind us, that tiny figurine dismounted from his steed
and got down on his knees
and gazed up at that sky of glass
to pray for the those tablets to scrape
deep beneath the surface of the Pacific
and unleash the hungry crest to chomp down on the shore.
He prayed for a countryside scrubbed clean
of all its antiques and tchotchkes,
for scattered livestock and herds of crippled sinners
hobbling for the hills, never looking back
but still turning to salt anyways.

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