We arrived when the tide was turning, pulling up
her hem like a mother who’d never once forgotten
she was a woman first and always. I went down

to her edge, surely just to my ankles, I thought,
but she lapped my legs and clapped her bawdy castanets
on sand bars ever just up ahead… “Come!”

she laughed. Not one to resist the tease of salt I waded in,
she, nipping at my calves then knees then place of joy
I never could quite help in spite of myself. Further and further

I went, shallow then deep then shallow again,
turning and squinting into the sun now and then to find the shore
of your long arms waving. Surprised, every time,

I’d wave back, only to be pulled away once again
by riptides of once upon and ever after, and all the things
I could only ever feel, without breaking, in the ocean.

(c) Heidi Fischbach, 2010

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