by Margo Davis
No one drowns unless depressed,
Earl hollers, shooing me toward the roughs
as he falls back onto his Bud Lite towel.
It’s 10 a.m. Pensacola time.
A half-dozen crushed beer cans
halo Mr. Ennui’s hazy head. I drag
through the sand his patched pool float
then mount it once I’m waist deep.
Waves lead me on, farther, farther out,
to a sense of deep calm. Until
Blue Angels’ Hornets rumble low and loud
overhead, jolting riders atop the ferris wheel.
Manic waves unfurl down the super-slide.
With lobster arms I paddle back toward shore,
where needle nose fish usher me out.
Yesterday morning’s blueberry
snow cone eaten before his pizza
smears a Pollock pastiche across his
torn Hanes t-shirt. If we hadn’t used all
the toothpaste when he sat on that
jellyfish, I could brush sand from my teeth
with my finger. For hours I pocket
then swap smooth shells, each with a singular
beauty. My shoulders, flaky as
last night’s pastry. I follow my nose to
salty grease stands. What’s fun
without funds? We’ve not eaten all day,
not since breakfast at Undertow Motel,
when Earl poured cold coffee on
a mound of Cap’n Hook cereal.
I find him still dozing, exhausted by
inertia. A green-eyed fly weathers his tropical
exhales. How I miss shade trees. A spindly
telephone pole would do. Now he stirs,
confused by my presence, glaring back
at the twinkling postcard-perfect
horizon. Too much sun. Too much
sand, he pronounces, cramming a kid’s
plastic bucket into his split paper bag.
When I struggle to deflate the float,
he says, Use your teeth. If we still
had a lick of cash on hand I would
steal away for char-grilled Amberjack.
Greasy fries. A bus ticket home.
When not adventure traveling, Margo Davis resides in Houston. Her more recent poems have appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Snapdragon, Mockingheart Review, Cordella, Houston Chronicle, Ocotillo Review, Persimmon Tree and several anthologies, most recently Odes and Elegies: Eco-poetry from the Texas Gulf Coast. Nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize, Davis is originally from New Orleans, where she obtained her MFA. This poem will appear in her forthcoming chapbook, Quicksilver, from Finishing Line Press.