The sea gasps

as crabs litter white Sanibel sands,

claws outstretched and flexing.


The pocked hand

of a starfish

clenches slowly skyward.


Soles plate the beach,

eyes dark and lusterless,

gulls gorging jelly.


A manatee bloats near high tide

as blow flies swarm

to pierce its skin.


Onshore winds whip

panicgrass over beach dunes,

raw in their exposure,


and a child bears water’s malice,

a rash from swimming,

the scratch of asthma’s rise.



Rob Jackson is a Guggenheim Fellow who has recent or forthcoming poems in various journals, including Southwest Review, Cold Mountain Review, Cortland Review, Atlanta Review, LitHub, and others.

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