These Bodies

My daughter’s legs
Long like her father’s and the color of caramel
A shade somewhere between his and mine
Always fluid
Closer to his now, as she is
Tanning to a darker brown
Every day we spend in the sun
She’s buried her toes in the sand
So many times that only
Tiny specks of polish remain
Five colors for ten toes
A memento from a weekend with her grandmother

She’s with a friend she’s just made, and
As always in these momentary summer friendships that
Last shorter than a butterfly’s life
There’s not a trace of newness, as they’ve
Fallen into this remarkable ease
Their lean brown bodies busy
Flapping in the water
(Because who can swim in an ocean
That crashes in waves of welcome on its visitors?)
(She’s used to the waters of her
Father’s island
Warm, turquoise, always still)
They’re building this or that mound
Almost identical, but each one
A different thing altogether
They’re carrying this or that item that is
To them
Something entirely different
Than it is to the parent who’s paid for it
In their comings and goings to the water and back to the sand
They seem sure of each other’s presence, as if
They’ve relied on one another
Many times

My son is too deep in the ocean for the
Lens to capture him in
Photographs I take with an
Obsessiveness of a maniacal
Collector of memories
Always meticulously documenting
(Always remembering
My time is short)

Hours after he had departed into the ocean
He emerges from froth and wave, and
Circles of girls who have
Attached themselves to his charm and humor
Despite the ocean’s resolve to tear them apart
He walks toward me, and
Takes my breath away

He is almost a man
My little boy, whom I once
Carried on my hip
Up and down hills
In and out of fruit markets,
Court rooms, and white sand beaches
Because I’d met him on an island
Years too late to
Carry him in my womb
Perhaps this body is the
Spitting image of his father
Wherever he is
Whoever he might be
He must be beautiful, and the
Woman who carried my son in her womb
Created this body
For my soul’s eternal mate
She must be beautiful

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