Heather McShane

Last Thursday, I went to the beach with another man. With him, I did not discuss the uncanny. With you -- at the beach, this Thursday -- I'm reminded, swapping towels. She didn't want to go under. He coerced.

Ladybugs, attracted to the water, are collected on thumbnails, where they use mouthparts to shed water before we deposit them on the sand.

The sun burns. I touch your skin to see if it radiates heat. "Is collage uncanny?"

I pace between Dionysis and Bacchus. By Bacchus, I mean Apollo. No -- Bacchus.

You're back. This time, small fish snap at your heels. You create sand currents with your feet. Even small bodies of water contain thermoclimes. You haven't seen me in a long time, but we talk of the sea. "Is this the sea?"

We bring it with us. The sunscreen waters my eyes. My voice cracks because of dehydration.

On a sailboat, you'd bring notebooks. On a sailboat, you'd bring Moby-Dick (admittedly never before finished). On a sailboat, you'd bring Ozark burial rites. "Tack," you say, "she taught me how to tack."

"Have movements ever ceased? Romanticism? Why are there start and end dates? Have you ever been so intellectually and physically exhausted that your emotions swell?"

I dislike painting my nails -- the weight. There's someone else in Florida. He sends me poems on Thursdays. I remember his previously callused feet.