Target Practice at the Beach


Sometimes there’s no symbol, only comic relief.
Consider how, for a four year old boy,
an abandoned buoy becomes a target
of endless delight. Consider the swiftness
with which ammunition flows from one intensity
into the next: first come cannonballs
of mud like scat, then rocks torn up
from the ocean floor, cracking on contact
like baseball bats. Then comes a log
that shatters so swiftly into hundreds
of tiny impotent spears. We shout out loud
at each new hit and truth be told
I feel no remorse, not even a dose
of good Quaker guilt. We’re purged by the sun
and the thirsty waters, the tide lurching
toward us like a drunkard at dinner,
while off in the ocean, the sea birds
are laughing and high up above
the invisible stars whirl on as they will,
so mute and blind to our warring below.

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