Miss it? What was it to me but always there,
but never alone, never in winter.
I took off down the shore on arrival,
collected purple chips of shell
we called wampum, in
less woke times.
Some big as half dollars I’d carry for weeks,
a sort of worry stone, then like all tokens I favor,
they’d fall out, return to my ocean green glass bowl.
Wet sand, tangle of seaweed at ankles,
smell of salt spray when tide came crashing back,
waves themselves slamming against your body
through the night, long after the sun
exchanged his place with stars.
Noxema soothed hot kisses he’d left that day,
rough hugs no lake can match.
The ocean parts are what I miss,
and a lime green bikini that somehow
I was allowed to wear even after
my breasts began to overgrow the top.
I miss gulls tearing mussels traight from their blue-black shells,
warning screeches, competition.
I miss soft, dry sand, light breading of frost
on damp feet, temporal footprints
on the wet shore, pull of the tide
as it retreats back to its main mother,
sun, after all its damage, lingering goodbye
on straight edge of England, Europe,
headed anywhere but Long Island.
CHERYL A. RICE’s poems have appeared in Home Planet News, Rye Whiskey Review, Up The River, and Misfit Magazine, among others. Recent chapbooks include Until the Words Came (Post Traumatic Press), coauthored with Guy Reed, and Love’s Compass (Kung Fu Treachery Press). Her blog is at: http://flyingmonkeyprods.blogspot.com/. Rice lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.