OFF DUTY

Crash of surf on sand,
gulls abound and flit around
in gangs of ten or twenty.

I’d have bet money
that the beach would be full
until we cleared the ridge to the shore.

Widely scattered blankets more
sand than flannel, to a (wo)man
the guards start to vacate. We’re late

to get in the water, we ought to
have come earlier. But the atmosphere
is soothing. Two of us barefoot at Erie’s edge.

Hedging that bet, I get a flash of memory,
back to the day when the girls were younger
and I didn’t need sunscreen to protect my scalp.

No guard on duty. Service suspended.
But it didn’t cause the end of a wonderful day.
Sunset burned into our eyes; in our hearts it stays.

Walt

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