Washed Ashore

By Corey Ginsberg

Beyond the pier,
on a bar of sand jutting into the Atlantic,
you washed ashore, curled comma,
dorsal fin shredded into silver Mohawk.

The ocean froths a shroud around you.
I come closer to see
cavernous coves of rotting cheek, hollowed
eye cavity staring still-life seascape.

Alone with you on my morning run,
in the sideways slap of rain, I’m not sure if it’s okay
to pause and take in your death, to impose
awkward still.

The beach is empty of notice. Nobody sees
the flesh torn from your face, open flap
of neck, birds pacing hungry-eyed.
I tell myself this is natural. But I carry your death

onward. Hours after the salt-sweat drops have dried
it comes back in dull strobes.
This displaced mourning,
this lingering gray capacity.

I think back to the family of fins last week at dawn.
To the bobbing breaths and collective arc.
To the perfunctory pull of collective motion.
And I wonder if anyone will notice when I go astray.

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Corey Ginsberg

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