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I have KnownTo Luke Buckham's previous piece     The Glutton GodTo Luke Buckham's next piece

the white sand and the sun

and I went on the white beach 
to pick you flowers made of red fire
and it was a sun under my feet.

I let it burn until the earth 
was torn away by its heat.
I let it burn.
I went there to find you some shells 
that the ocean had washed clean
and I pictured them held in your hands
soft shimmering things 
from some ocean's broken skeleton
an eternity swum and never reassembled.

I saw the water infinite 
in its stretch toward the false edge of this planet
the way the mist moves as the fish jump through it 
on the simmering blue horizon
and I wanted your hands on my body 
to make my blood angry with joy
in the midst of the shadows of buildings
that stretched their rectangular sun-gravestones 
across the glowing beach in a swift silence 
like a leaf of paper falling sideways in its drift
and whispering on the aged skin of my hands.

when I am an old man I hope I will not bring these shells
to your mild grave to see them wobble in a small breeze
on the grass feeding off your body in the sun.

deities whose faces I cannot believe
have warred over our bodies all these years
I let the tides tear me in the flat disc mouths
to spit me upward and take me under 
and make all my bodies simultaneous 
in the perfect murder of their froth
to undress me almost to my skeleton and spit me up
into the foreground of the sun itself
the white sand a landscape of ash fallen from the sun
that makes the sky come off in flakes
around its steaming path
in an improbable universe.

everything we see scorches me with hurtful beauty.
not one hedge's leaf escapes my vision without 
re-opening the wound that my first sight of beauty left in me
and it's a miracle that I can fling myself from skinless nothing
from the bed that is a lumpy shadow
when I see the hard light come in the window
like something thrown from a mirrored universe.

but I walk like a balloon dragging its string in the sand
toward a distant dock as the children drag their pails up
into the hot shadows of adult's umbrellas in the backseat of the sun
and wait for the metallic streetlights
to fall on me as the water darkens and cools in the snickering lights
and the bluefish smash their muscles against the air
and the shells warm to the flesh of my hand
as the flesh that departed their casings waits
silently and gasps outside their gone skin
for me to give them back to the whistling infinity of flesh
for me to let them away from my hands that made beauty a blade
for me to take their shape from the tide 
and give them back to your hands that made them 
before they had flesh to protect.

when I look at you with the murdered gift in my hands
the shells I give as my gift like little shards 
of empty sky where no birds fly
a small thing from the sea that cannot live
and I make you a better god.

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