Sunday, August 26, 2012

Women on a Beach

Light chooses white sails, the bellies of gulls.

Far away in a boat, someone wears a red shirt,

a tiny stab in the pale sky.

Your three bodies form a curving shoreline,

pink and brown sweaters, bare legs.

The beach glows grainy under the sun's copper pressure,

air the colour of tangerines.

One of you is sleeping, the wind's finger

on your cheek like a tendril of hair.

Night exhales its long held breath.

Stars puncture through.

At dusk you are a small soft heap, a kind of moss.

In the moonlight, a boulder of women.
                                  Anne Michaels

It’s a small wish I have - to hold a writers’ retreat at the beach.  I want us to stay in one of those beachfront properties with broad balconies decorated with comfortable blue and white striped cushions on lounge chairs overlooking the Atlantic.  I want a big house with enough room for privacy and places to share, a Jacuzzi and a pool would be nice, a large dining table, intimate corners where small lamps with sea shells carefully glued to the side of the base glow into the amber sunset. 

I want us to be able to walk on the firm crust of sand in the first morning light when the sand looks like stone and crumbles beneath our weight.  I want to look up from a page of just written words and see the pelicans glide across the ocean’s aura.  Reach for an ice chilled club soda with a slice of lemon sizzling in the bubbles.  Breathe in the salty air crashed across the dunes from a million frothy wave ripples, watch the sea saliva peel from the sand like a thousand slippery tongues, and find just the right next word on the slipstream of a screeching gull hawking its belly need.

In the evening I want to dine at my favorite restaurant, “just hooked,” completing a meal of encrusted ahi tuna with a fine decadent slice of rich flourless chocolate cake with sea salt and toasted chopped hazelnuts and served with a scoop of coffee ice cream.  Eaten slowly, perhaps shared because it’s richness is nearly too much for one person to endure in a single sitting.

I want to fall into a soft large bed with fine cotton sheets to the sound of the sea crooning to the stars around the moon, spinning a fine tale in the repetition of the drumming on the shore.  I want to turn over on my bed, and there on the shore, spot my companions, watching the moon dance across the ebbing tide creating a boulder of women, dark against the coagulating stone of sand, cool after the heat of the day, holding onto the warmth of each other.

Photo:Full Moon Over Varkala Beach by Nitin Joseph

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