The Smell of Bubbles by John C. Mannone

A gulf stands between me
and where the sand had formed
to pebbles wet with every lap.
Green water thins pallid in the ebb.

It leaves its color in waves
teasing sandbars a hundred yards off shore
before the coarseness strips away
leaving foam

and clinging bubbles only to cavitate,
to sink in quicksand or be squished
by toes. What amazes me is how

the water spray mingles hints of seaweed
with the salt-sharp smell of razor clams.

A pelican paces the wharf
filleting air with his long sword beak
anticipates filling her pouch. A fisherman

flops the striped mackerel catch dockside,
planks wet, slick with fish oil, He slips
a thin blade between flesh, bone,
between the final gasp of bubbles.

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