Every day I walk to the edge of the world,
through the tended wildness of Golden Gate Park,
across Ocean Highway’s car-thronged rush,
up over the stone-littered dunes and down,
until I turn south, my bare feet slapping
again and again on damp sand,
packed firm as cement,
pounded by the Pacific’s cadence,
low tide, high tide, low.
My face stings turned into the wind.
Damp with salt and grit, the coming storm
brings the sky down, brined and bruised,
to the ocean’s vast unrelenting grey.
I know the earth out there,
beyond the slate waves, turns.
But here, washed up at my pale feet,
lies the stalled detritus of the natural world.
The bone-white scraps of driftwood,
torn crustacean claws,
muddy sand dollars,
still brown and soft,
and the deflated balloon
of a dying jellyfish,
its tentacles tender, folded
like a ruffled skirt, laced edges
marred with dust specks of blood.
--Tami Carter, March 6, 2020