the atlantic – an evening study
By Melanie Abeygunawardana

the ocean curls its porous hand into a crab’s claw, pearly foam
birthing miraculously from water the enigmatic color of afternoon in
Brazil. i try to fathom the sheer distance of its length from the comfort
of my chair, perched haphazardly on the sand pirouetting like so many
drunken ballerinas – but can only come up with
one word.


it curves around the sky like its rebellious twin
sister, an invented diamond bowl melted by a pitiless sun, now frozen
into scorching pinpricks of light, a fisherman fixes the line on a
Spinfisher® rod with skilled fingers, sleeveless gray shirt fluttering like a
plunderer’s flag caught in a hurricane on the high seas.

the sunrays that had singed the flesh of my ear earlier surrender
to shadows that cast their cool negatives on my skin. clouds mound into
dunes of pink candy floss in the sky, rose-tinged grains up against
gravity in tremulous curtains like an eveningtide sahara. the ocean,
torched by the flaming sunset, burns like alcohol under a match.

fifteen minutes, maybe twenty.

then the inferno douses itself, quietly turns to ash. liquid shadows, dusky
gray-purples like the underside of a bruise or an unshaven beard, or the
lilac mothballed lining of a matriarch’s veins. watch, now, as the drowsy
atlantic retreats into itself, quiets under the Virginia starlight.

but my mind still recalls the fire.