— Diane Lee Moomey
Flat in blue swimsuit
baggy-bottomed with wet and sand and sharp with
splinters from the boardwalk, flat
and too young to be prey—
hunting eyes are following
only the curvéd ones. Me, knotted of hair,
sticky with ketchup: invisible.
The afternoon is mine.
“Don’t go too far,” she murmurs,
near sleep in yellow lounge, baby
on either side, near sleep; beside her,
as if mirrors are facing each to each,
endless rows of chair and umbrella,
umbrella and chair, of mothers and fathers
blanket the gray sand.
The man in the chair beside us
sleeps beneath his newspaper.
The surf line laps my ankles, fishy foam,
then sucks away, hissing,
and sudden bubbles pock the wet, sudden holes —
crabs live down there, or clams —
however fast I dig, I cannot catch one.
I do catch a sand dollar, mermaid’s money,
hoping she won’t mind.
The boardwalk: in the gloom beneath
a half-hamburger lies, now the grail of ants —
their forays up its cliffs, quick-march
through bogs of mustard! The fallen comrades,
final peak, the triumph, the trumpets!
And the man in the chair beside me
sleeps on beneath his newspaper.