The Beach Ritual | Mo Lynn Stoycoff

Image: Ryan Loughlin

The banks look like a Goodwill store
washed up, clothes everywhere

Our bodies run down to the surf
shells bubble out of the sand

Salt teeth bite at our ankles
then our labia, breasts and eyes

We are fifty-six laughing
little islands of loamy flesh

We wash up onto the sand
pink and glinting in the sun

We find our clothes, soft as homespun,
warm as August dunes of sand

Four fire-lords build a circular blaze
that sways and rises to meet us

We too rise and sway, huddled
like fur weanlings at the breast

our chests rising and falling in sync
our smiles lit up and flickering.

We raise a sunny, rubicund cone
high, high into and through the fog

We shout, laugh and cry
firelit eyes each a salty ocean

We release it with smoke into the chill air
and dissolve into dance and drums

and silent pairs, trudging up the banks
trailing bits of circle as we go.

Mo Lynn Stoycoff is a writer and visual artist whose poems have appeared in Poetry Now, Rise Up Review, The American Journal of Poetry, California Quarterly, Speckled Trout Review and many other journals and anthologies. Mo works in the performing arts and lives in Central California.

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