(although now he’s sure to tell you that she lied)
that when the sun dives each night off the edge of the pier
the waves steal a part of it forever.
(with a funny almost-smile that he could only almost-see
as they wrestled, laughing, on a quiet, secret beach)
didn’t he ever tire of building castles in the sand? he answered
not if she would always trim his towers with seaweed banners, and besides
wasn’t tonight’s creation the most beautiful of all?
she thought to herself
(as he dozed beside her on a blanket thrown across the sand,
as she peered through salty air toward brightening stars, and
as a silent bird skimmed the mist that spread over the shore)
the twilight is a crimson tease when you can’t slip into dreaming.
he tells himself
(or he tries to tell his neighbor’s boy, the one who always brings the paper)
that hers was just another pretty song, that
she was just another girl he’d rolled around with
in the sand of some other summer --
find yourself a pretty summer girl, he says to that boy who’s already gone,
but i can tell you that there’s no such thing as
what does he whisper to the June breezes of this other world,
defined centrally by what it can’t contain?
he has nothing true to say,
but at least from the comfort of these fraying, patterned cushions that will always hold his shape
at least in the pale blue spaces
between his broken-glass thoughts and mirror-dreams,
past the small mounds of sand that the children love to flatten,
at least through the open windows of an almost empty, weathered cottage by the sea
every night at twilight he can always chase the sunset.