A forest of umbrellas, cheerfully garish,
springs up with the receding tide like mushrooms
after a thunderstorm;
meanwhile the flock
of browning bodies sprawls sun-seared,
sleepy, over the giant mirror of the sand;
a kite wearing a sharkskin swims fluttering
through the clouds and scowls
with all his teeth.
One family with three little girls keeps
disappearing under the waves—
the lifeguard shrills angry warnings,
windmills his arm into a one-way sign
back to shore, back to shore.
The wind comes tumbling off the ocean
and snags itself in my hair and
this is almost perfect:
your laughter muffled with a cracked
conch shell, our hands wrist deep
in sea-wells and sandcastles, the burn
of happiness and salt water
singing in my throat.