by Emma Comery
We three are walking along the beach,
trailing six separate but parallel
footpaths in the sand. It is early
for the children – the sun
has only just begun to stretch
its legs under the warm blanket of nighttime
in August – but I want them to see
the waves roll out, turn back, retreat,
come crashing against the breast
of the shore. Claire, my quiet girl,
sifts through sea glass. Jack, still working
on his baby fat, abandons the shell
of the horseshoe crab he has found
to chase the gulls into a cloud
of feathers. There is no father here. Maybe
he is at home, burrowed in my bed.
Maybe he existed once or twice,
but only for an evening. Maybe my children
were another woman's children first.
Claire presses a softened shard of
sea foam into my palm. The wind
asks her to dance. I raise my hand
to my eyes, sink into this temporary
ground that came from across the sea.
Jack has opened an oyster shell.
I want them to feel – I think they feel
what it is to be owned by the linger
of salt between their fingers.