I receive the surprise message
from the lake—I was the bottle
all the time. That can’t be hidden
on the beach—the woman beneath the striped
umbrella heard it—she said “Didn’t I
tell you it would feel good? Send them a letter.”
Writing starts by the edge of the water,
where anyone can find you by bottle, by mail,
with a banner rippling behind an airplane that reads,
”Doesn’t It Feel Good?”

The beach is flesh, its ubiquity,
its impersonality, its expression and
celebration. It is an epic of epidermis,
coloured and tattooed, roses, eagles
clutching thunderbolts, flags, maple leaves;
holding hands, strolling along the avenue,
melting into each other until all humanity
is just that moment when water meets
the shore. Everyone reads each other,
whether the message is obvious or hidden,
salvation is where you dig it, pulchritude
is how you look at it.

Waves shape the sand beneath the surf into
infinite progressive portraits of each wave’s
passage. Ripples ply upon ripples in a never ending
corrugated confabulation of crest and trough.
Swimmers learn to read the current by tracing
the sand with a blind foot in water, until the warp
and etch of the water writes upon them, water covers
them in ripples, etches upon their skin, the whorls of
their fingers now the identity of the place they swim in,
the name of their stroke written across them for everyone
to read. It’s hard to hide that sort of thing at the beach.

Beach makes lovers of us. Its caresses lead to hugs,
entwines us in the surf. Mothers carry their children
safe above the water, whole families leap into the wave—
each strives to laugh loudest. Lovers migrate here,
know their passion will only increase where everyone
pretends not to see them make love in the surf.
Look it is written right here on the beach, “Wait for me
here, I’ll be back in 5 minutes,” plain as day.

What is a bottle for? Messages, miniature lakes
contained to anticipate our thirsts? Instructions?
or just this, “I’m here, I hope you love me too.”