John Gilling


the shore offered up a sandy handful to olivia,
bent at the waist and knees to more closely
inspect the rough skin of the earth;
she accepted it with claws.

the ground was between wet and dry,
liquid sandpaper pressed into the fleshy
webs connecting her fingers.   she ached for
its presence there, remembering gloomy nothing.

she squeezed harder, and more sand slipped
from the sides of her palm.
olivia let it fall, overtaken by her senses,
the lust of here and now.

with blood whistling through her forearm
in gossamer tunnels, olivia watched
loose clumps fall, each grain now
anonymous and just matter.

the process ground slowly down to an
olivia now relinquished her grip,
her skin sore and fading to pink.

the remainder of the handful was smooth and compact,
with vertical raised grooves from breaks
between her slender fingers.   no chaotic
beauty, simply a unit, uniform.

the corners of olivia's mouth sank,
the life gone from her lips.   she
fired the object into the still water.

she lay down with her torso
towards the attentive sky, smothering the abject
whole of the shore's gift
with oppressive legs and the small of a pale back.