I find you sitting in an open trunk
in a forgotten corner of the garage.
Hands at your sides, the iron-pressed
gray-scale dress with black blossoms
lifts slightly at the bottom,
a pewter sun hat bends over an ink cloud
of tight curls, a milky softness I’ve never seen
smoothes the curve of your chin.
Among the rocks the washed wool sky wrinkles
with noon, the white-crested waves
behind you flatten into steel
that is an indescribable blue
drowning sand sweet as sugar.
The hands holding the camera
will capture you without remorse
but your uneasy smile does not
know this yet, lips reaching for something
that looks half-relaxed,
hopeful. Behind what’s seen here is
later when the rocks shatter the waves
with a kind of violence that makes beautiful
songs, a mist of salt.
Facing this, your bare feet clung
to the rocky shore without a fear
that will one day eat away
the most fearless women
and drive you to folding parables
into paper boxes to carry the everyday
burden of never seeing home again.
But waiting for the flash, your back to the sun
makes it so you’ve slipped out of a crack
in the white clouds, half-vapor,
eyes already squeezing a stare that knows
your slipping feet will always tremble bare
on the wet blades of a rock-bottom,
faced with a rising surf
that will never relent.