We thought it was a dead thing—the colorless flesh
stems’ pendants sagging toward the underworld

from which they fed, a parasite feeding
on another parasite—but it wasn’t. Everywhere

moss slick as fish on rocks, on logs, bracken
fern sprawling like sea stars sucking

the barnacled slabs we scramble at low tide.
Nearby, my son’s small voice like an echo

threads through the shore pines at the tidepools
where he watches the sugar wrack’s

smooth blades billowing silk-like
in the quiet water. The first time

I bring my sons to this sea, a man
my age sat alone on the shore

shooting up. He shielded the needle
with his coat, a gesture of courtesy
People on couch
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