As a family, we followed the tide To Clara’s beach,
Two weeks before
The next chemical wave
Would block the flow
And swallow her whole.
I didn’t care for the beach.
But she’d walk
Tirelessly for miles and miles
In search of a yellow sea glass,
I could never find the soft ones,
Just green scraps from Heineken bottles,
Then call it a day. My legs done.
As a family, we walked up close once more,
Holding her up so her legs felt real again,
Toes painted, making red ripple water.
“Very soon—she said,” in between breaths.
“We’ll go on vacation. As a family.”
I had no yellow sea glass to show.
As a family, we followed the tide
Along Clara’s favorite jetty,
A year after she started laughing,
From six feet above ground
At the way we Catholic Italians mourn.
And I always knew it was laughable,
Behind the tears we were supposed to have.
Misery at its finest.
Yellow sea glass in hand,
Her name painted in cursive
On 4 single scallop shells,
One from each set of families.
We walked, skipping stones,
Lining the edge of the jetty
With shells and sea glass
“I saw her last night,” Michael said.
“And told her about the shells.
They were for her.”
Sammy barked in agreement.
“That was a sign from God,” Dorothy said.
And I always knew it was laughable.
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