My sentence is not to go down to the sea,
which is only for pure of heart;
I wander where the asphalt is bitten away
by winter rains on the clifftop.
The moon is a mottled pearl afloat
in wash of milk: the long fluttering manes
of the white horses wade ashore
in wavering skirmish lines. An endless assault.
The generals fall off
the horsebacks and disappear -- it's only water,
after all. The seals' haul-out is empty,
and no whales swim.
I count them off on my fingers, each wave,
but the total never comes out right. I think
they must be right, that I embezzled
the salt water entrusted to me:
but what I spent it on
I could not tell you now.