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[The sun-warmed beach crust breaks]

Boyer Rickel

The sun-warmed beach crust breaks

and the sudden metallic damp of sand

stuns my fingertips. How else

could we come to love the skins

of things—frogs, a sidewalk, the sky—

except by our own hurts? Celan

underlined the dark half, the despairing

half of a sentence on Holderlin; he left

the hopeful half unmarked. His gesture

freighted like photos with the history

to come: the longhaired high school friend

astride his Harley, whose van hurtled off a bridge

when he was 20. At the city pool, 1960,

the pressure of the photographer—my father’s

shadow—reaching across the water to me.

Boyer Rickel

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