Gustavo’s Rite by Ed Ahern

He walked onto the harbor beach at sunset,
planting a small net on a pole like a guidon,
and setting soiled cloth bags around it.
Alone on the beach he began his dance.
Mismatched clothes flapping, he swayed,
then paced, then crouched to pat the sand
into a crescent, then stepped back and back,
dug sand by hand, finding black things
and tossing them into a jumbled pile .
He stepped easily, as if riding waves,
moving in erose shapes only he knew.
Then he gathered net and bags and left,
not glancing back at the cairn
of burnt wood and asphalt fragments.
All this I watched from a restaurant deck,
and had to ask the waiter about him.
“Gustavo,” he said, shrugging, “a local character.”
I nodded but kept silent, recalling that morning
walking another beach, trying to feel profound.
His approach seemed more thorough.

Photo by Nathan Cowley on

About the Poet:

Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over two hundred fifty stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of six review editors.

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