God's Atlantic Sunsets

Back when I had money I bought this cottage on the Rhode Island coastline—it’s called a cottage in the pamphlets but is in reality a hunched and sprawling Cape Cod house. Now I go to the beachside that is my only home and stand for minutes that become hours, my hands in my pockets, letting the chilly water crust my shins over in brine. The rocks here aren’t like rocks anywhere else—these rise from the water in great scabby archipelagos, like blackheads on the ocean’s face, fat seagulls on top.

Here religious refugees liked to name their safe havens Jerusalem and Galilee, while later someone felt guilty about leaving out the natives and gave us Misquamicut and Quonochontaug. I suppose the religious ones came in a second wave of the Prosperity Gospel and bought their beach homes for their proximity to God’s Atlantic sunsets. But we don’t have popcorn clouds here; I just think they smear like God fell asleep at the palette knife.

It’s too bad, everything that happened. All of it really is.

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