In Florida, it seems the sun stays out longer
than where I’m from. I have come here
to escape clay, brick. My father taught
the boy I am with to be less like his mother.
The boy buys me a virgin strawberry daiquiri.
We walk together on the beach. Feet in the cool sand,
the cling of fabric to skin, a sudden awareness
of distance— this is ritual. I make a worship
for the sand, pour my drink out. The waves
eat it and the thousand handkerchiefs
I have brought with me, confessed to them.
The boy runs through the waves, is eaten in various ways.
He runs back, slick with night water. I have tricked
myself into thinking he loves me. He loves
his mother, her bottles. Lord, we are young.
We pass couples folded into each other
and into the sand. The bastard pier comes into view.
We turn around, walk towards the hotel.
His mother is waiting in her driftwood
palace. I imagine she is drunk like the first two nights,
hair splayed over the couch like seaweed. My father
is not here to teach the boy. The boy is not here
to teach me to pray to the gods of this beach,
that moon, but he does anyway.
He is not like his mother. He is drunk
on things untouchable. In the end
we are dry, bone-white, blasted
into the night like newborn suns.