Ash and Dust

On this side of the black sand beach,
waves quietly roll ashore. On the other side,
the windy side, they break, hard blue,
but here, even when the moon tugs at the sea,
I can observe tide pools breaking the sameness of the water:
mollusks and urchins, algae like marbled paper.
“Man you’re dust,” says a hermit crab,
grave and playful as the Yahwist,
before eating its breakfast of slimy leaf matter.
For a week, ash settled each night on windshields
and mailboxes from wildfires miles away.
Helicopters sliced a red sky. Today, when I woke up,
drool fouled my cheek. My hands felt hot and thick.
My mind was a small hairless animal, presentiments swarmed.

Derrick Austin

Derrick Austin

Derrick Austin is the author of Tenderness, forthcoming from BOA Editions in September 2021, and Trouble the Water (BOA Editions). He is a 2019-2021 Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University.
Derrick Austin

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Author: Derrick Austin

Derrick Austin is the author of Tenderness, forthcoming from BOA Editions in September 2021, and Trouble the Water (BOA Editions). He is a 2019-2021 Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University.