There is an evidence of the cycle of the sea
when the waves fall, nailed by the moon.
The beach will not be the same, hiding its shame.
It is a old testament punishment for sure.
Every time the shore line shrinks back from its fists.
Proof, where is your proof? Asked the city planner,
his fingernails chewed down to the cost of lost tourists.
There is evidence, as the beach disappears every year,
reclaimed, until the tides clutch endlessly at the bottoms
of the houses which had been further away, years ago.
There is no nailing down the erosion as the houses
slide off the sandy foundations into the water,
their sides collapsing like exhausted lungs.
Proof, you call that proof? Asked the city planner,
his own house safely years away from the cycle.
It is a testament to believe. The water believes
it can have what it wants with the beach, every
nail, bicycle, every fallen lifeguard tower.
Each year gaining. Each year the land dissolving.
The city planner believes he will win, for he has proof,
as if he could nail down physics, as if he could halt
the moon cycles, as if he could fall backwards into time,
as if the beach were not sand that he could hold onto
as a tribute to belief. As if belief was all that mattered.
Proof! I will show you the testament to proof!
catch a fire prompts for February 2010: testament, fall, beach, nail, cycle
•••Martin Willitts Jr’s recent poems appeared in Blue Fifth, Parting Gifts, Storm at Galesburg and other stories (anthology), The Centrifugal Eye, Quiddity, and others. His tenth chapbook is The Garden of French Horns (Pudding House Publications, 2008) and his second full-length collection is The Hummingbird (March Street Press, 2009).