Sea Oats, Uniola paniculata

According to Georgia code 12-5-311, “It is unlawful for any person to cut, harvest, remove, or eradicate any of the grass commonly known as sea oats,” while tens of millions of dollars are spent on coastal development contracts on Jekyll Island’s fragile shore.

Georgia Beach
By Margaret Atwood

In winter the beach is empty
but south, so there is no snow.

Empty can mean either
peaceful or desolate.

Two kinds of people walk here:
those who think they have love
and those who think they are without it.

I am neither one nor the other.

I pick up the vacant shells,
for which open means killed,
saving only the most perfect,
not knowing who they are for.

Near the water there are skinless
trees, fluid, grayed by weather,
in shapes of agony, or you could say
grace or passion as easily.
In any case twisted.

By the wind, which keeps going.
The empty space, which is not empty
space, moves through me.

I come back past the marsh,
dull yellow and rust-colored,
which whispers to itself,
which is sad only to us.

Jekyll Island, Georgia


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