July 8, 2009

The idea of order in John Hoppenthaler’s Love Poem: Indian Harbour Beach

The crab wipes sand from onyx beads at the
Ends of his fragile eye stalks. I shift and
He drops into his hole so quickly. It’s
As if something has fallen away. Glass
At the boat’s bottom shattered. Tourists
Sucked down with their “ahs” and their wedding bands
A Coppertone slick rainbowing on the
Water. A little boy in swim trunks, belly
Pronounced and round squats like Yogi Berra
Before a swarm of bread-crazed gulls.
Pointing. He squeals, Pigeon! Pigeon! Pigeon!
Beyond the shoals, sleek surfers in wetsuits
Lie dark and flat on boards, prowling
The continent’s perimeter---and this
poem was going to be about breakers
Tonguing shoreline, the teasing undertow,
Swell of lips, touch and lick of each approach.
But it can only be about the boy,
A cautious crab’s withdrawal from light, a crab
Who knows his business---pigeon, gull, lover---
Everything is feeding on this stretch of
Beach. The pelican’s sack hangs low. Pigeon!