The salt on your cheeks
needs to be wiped away. To be honest,
the devil should not be remembered
only when he wants to be.

He’s there when you slip, lacerating
the bottoms of your toes
on barnacles, and he’s there
when you slurp back ice-cold oysters

on the shoreline, golden and hot
with citrus
running down your stubbled chin,
speckling the sand’s darkness.

Before you leave, be sure to stand
and limp over if you have to.
Find where the devil stands
in the water, a wading merman

from the waist up. He’ll bow,
patient and understanding,
forgiving and waiting
to kiss the tears from your cheeks.