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Linda Pastan

We are slowly
undermined. Grain
by grain. . . .
inch by inch. . . .
It happens as we watch.
The waves move their long row
of scythes over the long beach.

It happens as we sleep,
the way the clock's hands
move continuously
just out of sight,
but more like an hourglass
than a clock,
for here sand
is running out.

We wake to water.
Implacably lovely
is this view
though it will swallow
us whole, soon
there will be
nothing left
but view.

We have tried a seawall.
We have tried prayer.
We have planted grasses
on the bank, small tentacles
hooks of green that catch
on nothing. For the wind
does its work, the water
does sure work.

One day the sea will simply
take us. The children
press their faces to the glass
as if the windows were portholes,
and the house fills
with animals: two dogs,
a bird, cats—we are becoming
an ark already.

The gulls will follow
our wake.
We are made of water anyway,
I can feel it in the yielding
of your flesh, though sometimes
I think that you are sand,
moving slowly, slowly
from under me.

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