The last time I was there

I threw flat rocks as hard as I could, and a

bracelet flew off my wrist

lost forever to the Gulf.  Pink-tinted birds

dipped beaks into water lining

the sandy shoulders of the two-lane parish road.

Metallic grey mushrooms broke the line

of the horizon, spouting occasional

bright spores of flame.  The sun-warmed sand

caught the impression of my toes while currents left

their own prints: a tidemark of distant places

/shells in colors I’d never seen before

/except in oil sheens on pavement

/a cast-off shoe

/plastic toys

/a rusted bottle-cap.

Down there at the end of civilization, a bridge

vaulted the highest point for miles

above flat marsh

and shacks on stilts wore weather-bleached

boards reading “Shrimp” and “Fishing Tours”, the only

signs of human existence–except

for those dark blots breaking the horizon, and the trash

that washed ashore.