Select Page

When I see the boy with no feet,
Traipsing along the shoreline,
Leaving circular imprints
For the ocean’s tide
To carry away,
I bury my toes
Underneath the surf,
Avoid eye contact,
Pretend to be entranced,
Watching waves ripple,
Clouds dissipate.

Like a fire extinguished,
The horizon retreats,
It meets, it parts,
Behind it leaves fragments.

Alone at the water’s edge,
I instruct my limbs to disappear,
Kneeling with weight on one arm,
Letting first my fist submerge,
Then my wrist, until gradually it severs at the elbow,
Far from the one-handed man
At the pumping station,
Who curses the heat,
Counts out my change,
Then employs an able rag
To wipe gently his gnarly stump.

Like a fire extinguished,
The horizon retreats,
It meets, it parts,
Behind it leaves fragments.

As I return to my towel,
To my book, to my space,
I notice a freckle-faced teen,
Concealed to his neck in sand
By friends eager to suppress,
His head a motionless beach ball,
Adorned with a crown of seaweed.
He giggles at his stillness,
His body masked, not emasculated.
I nod my head and smile,
Careful not to step on castles misshapen.

Like a fire extinguished,
The horizon retreats,
It meets, it parts,
Behind it leaves fragments.

I read about a man
Deformed from birth
And then another man
Made lame from age
And still another
Unhinged by fate,
And I wonder,
Which is worse?
To have faith and lose it,
Or to never had faith at all?
I apply lotion, squint at the sky and daydream.

Like a fire extinguished,
The horizon retreats,
It meets, it parts,
Behind it leaves fragments.

I think of a small toad I once found,
He hopped into my garage.
I tried to save him from my dog
By coaxing him into a pot.
Instead of rescuing the toad
In my effort to catch him,
I clumsily crushed his hind leg.
It saddened me to release him to the forest.
Once spry and innocent,
He would now learn to survive as a gimp,
Or surrender as a victim.

Like a fire extinguished,
The horizon retreats,
We meet, we part,

Be
hind
we
leave
frag
ments.

  • [About Dan Cafaro]
  • [Poetry Break Editor Note]