Neither/Nor // poetry

First published on Metazen (June 30th 2011) //

They were on the beach.
His body lay there
without movement. Hers too.
They had wide dark pupils. Like dead
eyes, really. Dead eyes like a wall
without windows. The
temperature jumped from 14 degrees
to 16.
But at least
they were walls that faced each other.

bye, bye-bye. The line
went dead. She put her hand down on the towel.

Blardy bleedee blar,
he said. She knew
what he meant
and nodded,
looking at her in-turned feet,
some unvarnished toes at the ends
of smooth legs.

Yes, she understood
what he meant.
He didn’t have to repeat himself.
He was always doing that. She
brushed a hand
over his thigh
then rested her head on it,
where sand peppered his
hen. It
helped, he felt

Blurrr, he
She rubbed his shin
up and down with
her palm. She
often made minor sacrifices
at her own expense.
They competed
in that respect.
He scratched her head,
which she liked, as she cleaned
his legs of wet sand.
Sometime during this ritual a small man walked up and stood over them.
Weak waves lapped the shore.
They could not understand
what he was saying
but he kept saying it
anyway, undeterred
by the lack of response.
He repeated
the same sounds
with varying inflection,
then quietly left
but still able
to walk
and fiddling
with his brown carrier bags.
He seemed
like a good sort.

In their language
they referred to him
as Bags.
He was carrying
two plastic bags.
They had no imagination.

Blu. He said.
brown was an unusual colour for plastic bags.

They watched the man as he walked away into the ocean,
wind crumpling the over-used plastic.
Another good one gone.
From the towel he rolled a harry rag
while she lay there,
the pack of tobacco half full and
dry from days left open
in the sun.
She smoked it
when he passed it
to her and they
watched Bags play
with his two companions in the sea.
The cigarette burnt quickly and was gone
in no time, but
it straightened out
the kinks.

They stretched out on the towel.
His body was flipping through black empty space. Hers was somewhere else,
in a bed with the covers pulled
up to the top lip.
Now their fingers,
at the ends of arms side-by-side,
tightly gripped the body of
through the towel
as they tried hard to resist
the world’s vain
arrogant turning,
but the sand ran
underneath them,
and their towel,
until they had skidded one thousand miles
down the coast.
She took a small
bite of the pizza and laid her head
back down, chewing
so as not to vomit. He watched her
beauty’s silhouette.

It was a confusing time.

They lay there
a while longer and
the temperature rose again,
this time to 18.

she said.
he somewhat agreed.

Time flitted graceful
and unhinged like a flag
in the wind.
The temperature
rose again,
to 23,
as they gradually
removed themselves
from heaven. They were back
in the bedroom.
They had never liked the
beach until
that day, and they
still had
never been, neither
nor apart.

// Also published on: Write This (Pretend Genius Press)

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