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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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