Daydream Memory

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.

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