“Reunion Beach”

Reunion Beach

In memory of Dottie Frank

The sea is calling us

home. There is nothing

stronger than that

pull; each wave dispelling

the patient passage

of time. No

beginning, no end

in the horizon’s blur,

where gull feathers

and stars are caught

in wind, swirling

above miles of sand

holding a crush

of memories.


Sandpipers scattered

at the edges

of low tide; green

ribboned steams

of seaweed


beneath your feet

as you took your first

stumbling steps

toward the sweep

of sea. Your mothers’

hands on either side

holding you up

like warm wings.


So many hours

lost in the long

sun, dribbling

watery sand

onto castle walls

gathering shells in buckets.

A red sneakerful carried

home, where bleached star-

fish lined windowsills

and brown conches circled

the garden like guards.

Your favorite grey whelk

held to your ear

before you could sleep.


You learned patience, walking

slowly through shallow water

until you found the row

of sand dollars, cold

beneath your feet,

picking one up with your toes

holding it like a prize.

Summer days spinning

cartwheels in one direction,

body surfing until the sun

dissolved over the city

and shrimp boats

lit up in a line like

a string of low-lying stars


Carving the name

of your first crush

into the hard sand

far from the tide line,

you smoked your first Marlboro

on the overgrown path

through wondering dunes.

Standing at water’s edge

with your school friends,

you watched blue and rust

cargo ships slide by the island,

wondering what lay below,

dreaming of wherever

they came from.


You brought us

the world

of this island,

its wax myrtles

and palmettos,


flying low

along the shoreline-

each beloved object

of your home place

lining the pages

of your stories

like sand scattered

between sentences.


We will return

in September,

the month of your birth,

the month

of your death.

We will retrace your

footsteps, watch

dolphins dip in

and out of waves, as if

they are following us,

hear your laughter as gulls

call back and forth

beneath wisps

of clouds, where we

will see you

in the radiant light.