Sand and Ice

mars_polar_deposits_main

Daylight: life
burrows out and up.

A common but no less uncommon tern swoops
past bubbling edges. There, a cormorant, black as ash,

gathers the sun in its arcing wings. Prehistoric
pelicans cling clumsily to a pocket of air, then fall

like rocks, shattering through undulating surf as the
red-shorted lifeguard hooks his gaze

onto distant thighs smothered and scented
with coconut . And the dimwitted sandpipers peck

at the straggling sunburnt seaweed, and finally,
late as usual, the seagulls
arrive.

Out there on the frozen plain
the ice is

breathing. Beneath the floes
the water streams faster,

further; sun rays race atop glinting surfaces;
unsuspended ice unfurls

below a red fox pattering berg
to white berg. Life froths

anew. Yawning bears scratch and
stretch and lumber toward meat. Mayflies

flitter away abbreviated lives on
a nanosecond of love while still in flight. Hurrying

toward their beginnings, salmon
muscle past the ocean’s currents. And

here, when the soft shoots release winter’s hold,
the hidden pheromones of humans
begin to seep.

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