A Walk by the Ocean

by Tom Bajoras

I came here to think about big things:
ice sheets melting,
continents drifting,
the moon slowly escaping the earth,
a friend betraying a friend.

A walk by the ocean
shrinks the big things,
so they fit in your pocket
like the quartz pebbles dotting the sand.
But the ocean is a merciless mother;
she rends your ragged soul,
chews you until the edges are gone,
and spits you out, a gem.

They call the ocean blue,
but her face is always gray, opaque, hiding
dangerous secrets in her heart.
Savage currents ensare without warning
and drag you down into the frozen depths.

I am all the choices I’ve ever made,
shipwrecked ambitions,
shells outgrown and discarded.
But my thoughts are interrupted
by mother bellowing in the surf and
the water gripping my ankles, pulling me toward her.
“These are big things,” I protest as loudly as I can;
the thundering waves reply:
All my things are small.