Every year, the moon drifts off
by four centimeters, the moon that tames
the tides from a million miles away
and holds those starving arms
from swallowing up the Earth.
When I am fifty years old,
the tide will have a full six feet of leeway,
still creeping forth. I imagine that
our beaches today were barren wastes
a few thousand years ago, just begging
for the moon to inch further
so water could bathe the desert plains in life.
New millennia will surge forward until
this frothing life suffocates nations.
And don't tell me I'm being ridiculous
to fear for the future, because I know
we'll all have long escaped by then.
I don't fear for you and I. I fear for the tide.
I pity that endless blue never quite able to
mimic the sky, yearning to press her body
to the Earth's, the lover who has only glimpsed
her own from a distance, churning with
forever unfulfilled desire, like the mermaid
who took the man she loved to the glorious depths
in a moment of thoughtlessness, love's cruelest gift.
If you sit beside the waves long enough
she will pour out her heart between dripping sobs,
pleas for mercy, insisting that
their love always transcended life anyway,
conveniently forgetting his desperate inhalations,
those shuddering convulsions for air,
the heartbreak in his shocked stare,
the night she laid his pale skeleton into the Earth—
and you want to slap her back into sanity,
spit out the hard truth: she stole his life,
she has no one to blame but herself,
she fucked up, and somewhere a Mother
prays for God to return a lost son—
until she slinks back into the sea,
arms wrapped now around no one but herself,
and then you can't help it either,
you know love when you see it,
you feel the tide's grip, its deadly current.