hell is on the hide-a-bed, generously allowing sleep and i some solitude

feeling under water, i walk through
forest towards the sea.
hell intertwines its fingers with mine
as we walk.
a man exits his car
as i approach the forested trail.
he wears headphones
and pants that cinch at the ankle.
he wears a vest
and black running shoes.

we enter the forest
at the same time,
an unfortunate byproduct of timing.
hell, gripping tightly to me,
grumbles and sighs.
i think we can outpace this
strange man, and take a wide berth
to his left. unnoticed,
hell and i, are incorrect
in our assessment of gait,
and we walk awkwardly
beside this vested man,
for a few paces.
we slow to allow the man
full range of wooded trail.
he soon crosses a small bridge
up ahead of us, rounds a dog leg,
and dematerializes into the trees.

hell steadies me
as we walk from forest
down onto the broad back of beach.
only a suggestion at high tide,
low tide has discovered this
transient land, presenting it to us
in muted green of seaweed
and rolling ankle of jumbled rock.

ravens ply the beach.
lacking opposable thumbs,
or any hand at all,
they use their face to pick
through the rocks.
looking ahead, hell and i
see the wide beach speckled
with other travelers, so
we carefully pick our path
through the tide pools and
ravenous ravens. careful
to avoid encounters with others.
an aging couple,
man and woman,
use trekking poles to steady
their oceanside amble.
perhaps they carry heaven with them.
maybe heaven doesn’t make footfall
sure, resolute, the way
companionable hell does.

clearing the beach, incoming
tide shushing at our heels,
we walk towards the harbor.
a playground overflows with children.
a basketball court houses young
men and women, playing.
one young woman wears a tank top
and i want to leer as i pass.
hell, kissing me on the cheek,
encourages my eyes in the opposite
direction, to the boats bobbing
in their slips. a chuff of wind
clangs a sail against mast,
threads through the recession
of my tired hair.
feeling it on my scalp.
it feels like joy.

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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