The Encyclopedia of Sand

The Encyclopedia of Sand
for Kathy

Abandoned Silica, the most migratory, is found
on nearly all of the world’s beaches.
Morning Sand is the most rare,
its extreme heaviness prevents migration.
Carried aboard Greek warships
between the toes of soldiers
fleeing the Persians, its weight
forced eleven ships to the floor of the ocean.
From a public phone on a wooden dock
in Costa Brava at four in the morning,
she reads to me, The Encyclopedia of Sand,
a small book she found
in the airport in Frankfurt.

If I lay my hand on the map
she is the distance from my forefinger
to the heel of the palm.
The moon scrapes my knuckles.
In the lulls between her words
I hear the ocean fling itself at the shore
like a drowning man. She takes off her shoes,
pours out sand to see if it resembles any in the book.
Behind her a passenger ship is moving away.
She doesn’t see it but I do.