The Gulf

Palms. Drunks of the beach
Fallen from the perpendicular,
Sway in the sweating heat
and struggle to look sober.

Burnt by the smoking eye of a fierce god,
The gulf nurtures a bronze sunset.
Blood-tipped clouds scud over the seawall,

and an unshaven ice-cream vendor drowses under his rattan cap,
Washed by the sea's providence.

As night sews Pleiades into the sky,
The tops of the palms toss, like bad dreams. 
Coconut husks, fallen trailers, one rotting dog --
A Gigantic decay litters the beach. As it has always done.  

I stop. To smoke with the Indian Ocean unrolling beside me.
Only a tanker is lit like a candelabrum on the reach.  

As the toothpick of the tide works into
The land's apricot skin,
The sea's perpetual hunger 
Sobs around my feet.

There is only the wave's cadenza now,
The stink of sand crabs,
and myself, gulfed in blackness.

Robert James Berry