Long after the mothers uncross
their arms and the children who huddle
and wrap their shoulders in towels
stop shivering, when atop the tower the lifeguard collapses
his red umbrella, the beach is shorn of leisure
and the colossal night is a call to worship
for the anchorite who heaves churns and roars
against the planet’s decree as it prays,
and leaning in me you ask what could a sea
this terrible and perfect possibly ever pray for: waves
smack in the jetty again and again and again
as if asking for one thing.
We draw our blankets tight.
More and more we think we hear it.
JOHN EBERSOLE is the poetry editor for The Philadelphia Review of Books. His work has appeared recently in Western Humanities Review, HTML GIANT, Bateau, storySouth, and Octopus. Born and raised in Florida, he earned an MFA from Columbia University. He teaches at Chestnut Hill College and lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his wife and daughter.