Four years ago I traced this shore.
My footprints threaded a needle of reeds.
Thin grasses. Dry, flat rocks.
Waves of limestone lapped by wind
when afternoon sunlight made skillets of slabs.
Four years ago I could walk this shore.
Pick up fossils and coral reef shards.
Could turn over rocks between my fingers.
The world loves water
until there’s too much of it.
The water this year reached a record high,
refuting all my ideas of shore
between the cobbled wash
and leaning cedars
that spent their lives trying not to fall down.
These words are all that remain of the shore.
Next year, or perhaps a year after,
nothing will say a shoreline ran here,
except a line I want to imagine,
the thread of words submerged in a poem.
I wish history were told from end to beginning
to know that anything that sees its reflection
is fated to drown in astonishment or water
when the world changes to outpace itself,
though I’d be grateful to learn what an island knows.