Postcard to John, Overlooking Barachois Beach, Late May by Steve Bellin-Oka

A little after dawn and no one else is here. The sky’s an envelope lightning scribbles on with disappearing ink. Illegible handwriting, a jagged cursive S on opaque nimbus clouds. Everything here will be gone once the tide goes back out—minnow pools in the red clay sand, crab husks, live clam maws scattered like discarded wrappers on the beach. This early in the season, the water’s still cold enough to numb the feet. Someone’s left a pair of runners teetering on a half-submerged rock. Soon they’ll tumble into the marram grass in the insistent push of tide, the coming pull of sea. Once we wrote each other, then less and less. After twenty years the beautiful curve of your neck is blurred, but my thigh still burns with the stain your hand left behind.

Steve Bellin-Oka was raised in Baltimore and has lived in Mississippi, San Francisco, and Prince Edward Island, Canada. His work has appeared widely and he is the recipient of fellowships and grants from a variety of foundations and writers’ centers. He teaches at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales.