the angle of the sun is perfect
as it always is on postcard pictures
just the right shade of afternoon yellow
so everything is washed clean
by the light

my friend
my traveling companion
describes for me
the smells and sounds and details—
paints the ambience i can’t feel
because my desert origins
sabatoge my imagination

i suddenly realize
i have stopped listening
and my mind has taken a side street
looking at people
wondering how they feel
about this place, this time
where they have been captured—

does the captain of the tiny fleet
of fishing boats at dock
still mourn the child
who grew to three
and no older—
does the innkeeper still hide
his mistress from next village down
the one that everyone knows about
and no one cares
not even his wife anymore—
what does the bait merchant do
to scrub his hands free
of the smell of fish and ocean
before reaching to hug
his youngest,
or does he even bother—
and do any of these people
have any sense
of the complete, utter sadness
that washes over me
as my friend’s voice
pulls me back with the telling
of visions at night
grief deeper than the ocean
sorrow more piercing
than the bitter winds
the ones that come in winter
to this picture perfect place
when there is no afternoon sun

we have come here
because we feel we must
but don’t know why
and sit together on driftwood
watching to see
if the gray and angry sea
will bring us answers
or if some overwhelming wave
will cover us
with more than we want to know
and leave the beach

Zetetic separator

—j.lewis is an internationally published poet, musician, and nurse practitioner, loves kayaking and photographing the areas around his home in California. Poems have appeared online and in print in numerous journals from California to Nigeria to the UK. His first collection of poetry and photography, a clear day in october, was published in June 2016, and is available on Amazon. A new chapbook, every evening is december, was published by Praxis Magazine in February, 2018.

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