Diamond Shoals by Michael Robins

What a jolt, no polished stone nor summer
sleeping by the sea, but like a hinge
pointed loosely from its armor the late
& holy lance of a horseshoe finds her soft,
unsuspecting mark. Let the corollary show
flies like midair ember, a rabbit’s grin
not unscathed between the dune & waterline
while the pebbly moon strikes to it
budding schoolboys peeling away bare,
wild with trembling, who give their dash
as if drunk on the heavens. Nearly
I’m quilled, nearly bliss in what’s bled
yet onwardly bleeds. O lifeless fossil,
ghost of the unchristened soldier, surely
now you’ve met the deckhand & thief,
each risen then flattened again for your spear
lickety through the feet. Whatever stand
remains like nerve puts a finger there,
bears down, deep & crazed inside the sting
until not even the gods thick with clot
come calling, not even to the cusp
where they say the ocean eases terror,
washes smooth our sins like the eye
& thread as they mend (almost) this skin.

Michael Robins is the author of five poetry collections, including People You May Know (2020) and The Bright Invisible (2022), both from Saturnalia Books. He lives in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago.