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all things flotsam and jetsam on the beach before hurricanes.

by Eli Skipp

with great galumphing steps they splash into the
foaming opaque beach water, him almost cautious,
her dunking and diving head first because from
great experience she knows this is the only way
to get used to the water and smiling and chasing
him, she squeals, and squeals again, and caught by
her hip in the loops of her bathing suit is a
jellyfish.

sharp sunlight stretching reaching up to make herself
with her belly exposed feel less vulnerable – to stretch
out skin and fat and try to look less stumpy and soft –
and crawling up her side are branches of red bumps all
stingy and itching like chiggers dug under her skin.

once in Mexico down the playa the waves were awash with
man-o-wars, blue slinky bubbles all tentacles and bitterness,
and her daddy done got one wrapped about his knee and nearly
died. she remembers mostly her mother almost crying and she
herself being mighty selfish and understanding nothing –
even though one of the brutish things had stung her foot
earlier that day too.

back on the beach billowing black clouds roll right on in,
rollicking and rocking the waves and they pick up their things
and walk with confidence through the falling water, for they
are wet already, and the salt falls down them in rivers.

09/24/2008

Posted on 09/24/2008
Copyright © 2022 Eli Skipp

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Meghan Helmich on 09/26/08 at 06:07 PM

eli, this is beautiful. i've never been stung by a jelly fish, but you make it seem like i've felt it before. and the whole poem just flows like salt rivers

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 09/27/08 at 10:24 PM

Wonderful reading - visually exciting - "for they are wet already, and the salt falls down them in rivers." Fantastic ending.

Posted by Meghan Helmich on 11/04/11 at 06:09 PM

This is still great.

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