The Morning After

As published in Dunes Review Winter/Spring 2024

I know I'm meant to say

it all looked better come morning,

something about a sober mind and

limpid light, dawn blushing the lake. 

New day, fresh start—as if 

I’ve awoken someone who 

won’t hunger for alteration, 

who won’t do it again.

This life doesn't want clarity, 

it wants a bleary-eyed appraisal, 

vaseline on the lens, a trick 

to make the world’s sharp edges 

appear soft and forgiving.

Maybe you'd rather hear 

about revelation, or the bridal lace 

of cresting waves, the elegance 

of a heron perched lithe-legged 

on the break-wall?

But there are twenty seagulls 

fighting over a Dorito in a hash 

of feathers, riding high in chase, 

loosing pink-throated screams, 

unconcerned with dignity, with 

the hushed beauty of daybreak.

Have you ever seen anything 

so magnificent as this 

naked wanting, every grace 

given over to the fleeting thrill?

Spent bottles flame like torches 

in the sand, burning down toward 

a distant evening, the hours fraught 

and plodding; I want what quickens, 

the winged blur, easy distance.