The Lords and Serfs of Sand and Sea
As kids, we conjured jungle gyms  
            into whaling ships, and depending on the jobs  
of our parents, one of us played captain,  
            and one of us played anchor, and sometimes 
we stood on our toes in the crow’s nest, 
            gazing at a glint of the sun on the sea  
through shoreline mansion windows.  
            This is a place with whole stretches of beach  
sealed in a purse with a gold lock and bone key.  
            Salt cardiogrammed the levee, and I could sit  
on a dock until someone told me not to. 
            In the dream my sister remembers best,  
she’s standing beside a wooden fence  
            that stretches and curves the whole coastline. 
She wants to get through, and she’s found a hole  
            the size of a thumbtack. She scatters her clothes, 
and raises her hands, peeling each layer of skin, 
            unspooling the fretwork of veins and bone slowly, 
until she is one floating mass. My sister then slips  
            through the hole in the fence as whatever 
liquid she is—as whatever benediction—and the ocean 
            dismantles the helix that makes her. 
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