by Gonzalinho da Costa
Down the road a short distance the sea is crashing breakers.
I hear the soft rhythmic roar telling of a distant menace.
We live close enough to the beach to feel the breeze and smell it.
On a hot night it cools the house like a ghostly visitor.
Dark beams exude the odor of sand, old wood a salt fragrance.
Fish and shrimp, squid and snails are the gifts of our brooding neighbor.
We toss them in garlic and soy sauce, shaking them inside the pan.
We serve them steaming, feasting until our stomachs smile.
But in the blackness I cannot be safe enough to call the ocean friend.
He harbors in his belly gigantic aliens and swallows sailors alive.
I hold a match to a kerosene lamp to illumine scroll columns and chairs.
I gaze at the flickering yellow flame, warming within myself.
No one can control this behemoth, this restless surging animal.
If only I could capture this water and leash it to a post.