Anemone!

By Kaleem Hawa

There’s a bulldozer on the beach!,

and it’s not making itself any friends.

Its crisp staccato gagging the rush

of wind, the crash of synthetic on

mineral flattening the salted chew, shoving

the grit into their mouths, until

no one has a choice, until

they grind up the granules, spit-coating

the mulch until

it’s a sandpit after the rain,

Sullivan’s dessert, a brine-saturated treat

for a starving family, served sous-vide.

What did you say? There’s a bulldozer on the beach!

I have to remind myself, before I jump in

that the ocean’s not their friend,

that it’s a death sentence for a bulbous people

bobbing up and down its neck,

that under the skin, there’s a dripping reef,

the feet struggle to avoid, seeking out firm ground,

generations who’ve forgotten how to swim,

the Akka fishermen, the Haifa seamstresses,

lives gutted and cleaned and sold

so the creature can continue its purring

progress—goddamn—there’s a bulldozer on the beach!

It’s hard to walk, when you’ve stepped on anemones

—they crack the skin, break sensibilities,

puncture tires, even, rewrite stories, often—

but walk I must, for when my teta

passes I’ll return her to that

plot, I’ll repurpose

that black machine, carve out a piece of her

land, I’ll bend her earth to my will,

yell out across the indifferent light, crying salt,

chewing stars, begging the world to look, to finally

stop it, because: there’s a bulldozer on her beach!,

and dead bodies in the water.

You can find Kaleem at @kaleemhawa