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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


I haven’t written a new poem in a while. Here’s one born this morning, an early birthday poem, perhaps a gift to myself. I'm turning 82. When she was in her late eighties, I remember asking my mother how it felt to be that old. She said, “You’re still the same you inside. You just look in the mirror and wonder who that is.” I think who we are inside carries all the selves we’ve ever been into each moment, each new day. ________________ Craving Ocean Again

I’m craving ocean again, wanting to lift my head as a dog would to better sniff the salt air, to tilt my ears seaward to better hear the slap and swish of waves as they rise and fall, obedient to the changing moon.

I need ocean again, want to walk the tides both coming in and going out, bare feet imprinting hard sand at the shore’s edge as I resist going in too deep, refuse to drown in incarnations left behind—sand castles dissolving.

By incarnations, I do not mean the horseshoe crab, ancient ancestor washed up to mate and sometimes die in the sun, or colonies of jellyfish, their slimy discs riding too close to shore for those of us who dare to wade in among them, fearing their sting.

No, I mean the child who watched her mother dead- man float and feared her loss. The one who sat at a knotty pine table bearing fish fries and cob corn many summers of childhood, or the mother of two little ones in a family camped by the sea.

This spring morning, my body is an hourglass, sand running through it again and again. Next week is my birthday, and early in my ninth decade I crave ocean in any weather, bow to its endless give and take, and still stoop to gather shells as I wander the sea’s edge.

© 2022 Penny Harter

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