The cars sped by at eighty where the surfers
Entered the water, paddling out between cars.
No driving home on this day. Another wave swamped Route 1.
I cut over dunes to find a road’s end leading
Upcountry through the bungalows and was blocked by backyards.
Cutting through sensitive plants, I shot south to the first bluff
Where things were worse. The fog came in through washed up
Trees where a village had floated out to suicide.
I crawled under trunks and branches and saw two men
Pushing boats into the water to save themselves as the waves
Rose and blocked the way home south. I crawled back
Through a deeper thicket and saw a magazine picture
Of a man next to the mouth of a small tiger shark,
Dead on the sand. It looked like the shark ate the man.
I climbed to safe ground and watched my car turn over
And over in the surf below. I’d never seen that, cars whizzing
Past surfers paddling in crosswalks, and bathing cars.
Poem by Lawrence Bridges
Lawrence Bridges is best known for work in the film and literary world. His poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and The Tampa Review. He has published three volumes of poetry: Horses on Drums, Flip Days, and Brownwood. As a filmmaker, he created a series of literary documentaries for the NEA’s “Big Read” initiative, which include profiles of Ray Bradbury, Amy Tan, Tobias Wolff, and Cynthia Ozick.