Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The islands are sinking into the mist as the sky's curtains draw across the setting moon. Footsteps sinking into the cold sand, I stoop for plastic. Into my empty coffee mug I deposit drinking straws, their stripes faded like old circus tents. A rainbow of plastic caps. A shotgun shell. Remnants of wet cellophane, each piece gleaming like a jellyfish in the angled morning light. Flaccid strips of bright ruined balloons mimic worms, and I wonder if the willets and curlews I watch at the water's edge gobble them up sometimes by mistake, their bellies filling like those fated birds on that far away atoll whose innards are stuffed with caps and Bic lighters and Barbie parts, gestating death. An impromptu burial mound materializes in my path. Feather and shell and bone. A beak. I keep walking. Later, half washed away, is a child's construction of driftwood, stick, and stone--proof, I guess, that we are better at building than maintaining. Just steps from the last trash can, I find him. A blue plastic soldier, missing an arm and most of a leg, his gun still clutched in his remaining hand. Not sure if he's evidence of childhood innocence or destruction's harbinger, I put him in my pocket and carry him home.