Beach Croquet

The sun threw down its red-pulsed track
of endings—I’d rather have driven straight
through the night to a day at the beach, though

on the way back the car would begin hissing,
as if a great rage had been beaten into the steel
like song.  At low tide we set a course over wet sand,  

dry sand, sand flattened, wind-chased into gullies
and mounds.  Like children, we heaved the ball
with the butt of the stick, called it air croquet.  

Later our son would paint the sea and sky meeting
at some point of confusion, his parents glued-on bits
receding into the blue and white nonchalance

of the afternoon. Where failure was expected and winning
miraculous, and everything could be explained.
How the sand closed over our feet like slow water.

first published in Comstock Review