That evening you drove us out on the bruised southern beach

we lost the hope we’d find the words to match

the gold slant of sunlight’s sail across Gulf Coast swells and sand.

We stood in the empty lobby, luggage in tow full of secrets,

two people, houseless together, and the wind—don’t you remember? —

shoved us off the courtyard and boardwalk and shore

onto broken bits of orange shell and seaglass the foam white sand

absolved of its every edge. When we look back

through photos on the shiny screen of a phone,

we’ve slipped away from those patient guides, the pelicans

on updrafts off breakers where the sun never goes down,

and stepped into a groaning wind and chill light, two people

on earth, itself a straggler in a flight of planets touring the sun.


Apalachicola, February 2023


Michael Daley

Michael Daley, born and raised in Massachusetts, has published sixteen books, three of which came out in 2022: Reinhabited: New & Selected Poems (Dos Madres, Loveland, OH), Telemachus, a novel (Pleasure Boat Studio, Seattle, WA), and True Heresies, poems (Cervena Barva, Somerville, MA). He is managing editor of The Madrona Project anthology series. A retired teacher, he lives in Anacortes, Washington

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