The wind whispers your body
as you veer out of the salt spray
onto the endless blond shore.
It tells you to pound your feet
into the wet sand
as if to jar the earth from the force.
You follow its orders
and your harsh body motion
upsets your aviators, tilts them askew.
Your pounding shakes loose
the deaths of a million fish washed ashore
and they take form around you,
flopping and throwing themselves.
The tide stretches a little farther inland
trying to facilitate their return.
Each tail that slaps the water
produces a lost message
once carried in a bottle.
From behind you the authors
of those messages emerge dripping
to congregate on the shore around you.
Their sheer numbers press upon you
while their empty loneliness
carries the suffocating reek of dead fish.
As your feet continue to pound the sand,
the authors pair up, collected
like unclaimed luggage.
They begin to leave, to seek seclusion.
In no time the beach is empty again, except for you,
your footprints, and the oblique curve of the shoreline.
copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney