When I finally reached them, a young father
was trying to teach his daughter how to cast.
She flicked her wrist, overshot, found the motion
the second time around. I’d run four miles
to get here & didn’t think I’d make it, then sat
awhile attempting to be still, to regard the teenagers
stripping down to their suits with recognition,
kindness & not my usual judgment aimed inward.
Yesterday, an ecologist was explaining how
so much in nature forms from loss—take beaches,
he’d said, damage the desired state for a certain
kind of growth. On the walk home my feet hurt,
I came across a turtle in the road, flies attaching
to its split shell, & waited for someone else
to move it. Like how she’d told me I needed
to open, but how? I mean it literally: I can’t figure
out the mechanics. Online, another poet vows
not to collude anymore with modes of despair.
But what about the opposite, what it would mean
to shelter despair like a child or childhood pet?
This is me trying to make an opening. For some-
thing unformed to enter. A new kind of noticing.
The willingness to risk failure for the possibility
of love. On the dunes, a dark-haired woman walking
barefoot along the shoreline smiled as she passed.
I smiled back. Farther out now, the teenagers
splashed in the waves, & as I listened to the pitch
of their voices came to see they weren’t teenagers
at all but somewhere in the middle of their lives.