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In the Lifeguard's Chair

i climb into the lifeguard’s chair
above the surface of the beach
at the ocean’s edge
tide cascading in
tide drawn back out
sun rising at the edge of the Wampanoag horizon
the lifeguard’s seat wet and dewy
the earth and sun moving as they have
for billions of years
in an expanding constant infinity 
the rocks and boulders on these shelves
delivered by a mile high continent of ice
sliding on the skin of virgin land
and then withdrawing
leaving behind laurentian remains
ground into grain
the morning after dear steven tells me
he has metastatic kidney cancer
pressing on his brain.
it’s not just being dead that bothers me, I tell him,
it is the suffering on the way to the grave site
unable to hear the sea birds’ call
or see the seals and great white sharks
aslumber in their baths
remembering our trips to the holy land
the olive trees we planted
between the old green line
and the horrific fence
that cordoned off uncle abu’s entire village
land, livelihood, and footprints on the rust red soil
this then who we are, my brother,
one long wave and goodbye
the gathered surf in noisy descent
beads of light glistening upon the waters
that blind us 
and shine on us
on the paths we must tread
walking o'er these waters
before being reabsorbed into waves.