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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 1, March 2019
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Glenn Coats
Carolina Shores, North Carolina, USA


Saturated by the Sea

Patches of sunlight break through the canopy. My granddaughter gets a running start then belly flops on a swing. She glides up and down on her stomach until the swing stands still. I back up to watch and encourage as I study the trees, search trunks for black snakes that climb this time of year. Scarlett is not afraid of snakes—only alligators.

summer haze
a waltz slow enough
for a turtle

We walk along a boardwalk that crosses islands of cord-grass. The tide is high and creeks run red like rust. Scarlett pokes her head over a railing, gazes at the water. Minnows flash and vanish. The smooth grass is all shades of green, stems are taller than my granddaughter. “I want to see a bottlenose dolphin,” she says. “Maybe a shark.”

tufts of wool
the back and forth
of nest building

There are three men out on the pier. Fishing poles point in all directions. They bait their hooks with pieces of red worm but nothing is biting. Scarlett and I watch passing boats that create waves on the waterway. Along the shoreline, sandpipers search exposed mud for snails. My granddaughter looks down steps that lead to the water as waves splash her sneakers.

wading the shallows
clams the size
of her fingernails

We cross over to the edge of the salt marsh where wax myrtle and red cedar grow. A sign says hang an oyster shell and make a wish. Scarlett and I rummage along the shore for shells with holes then lace them on branches. A breeze shakes the trees and the shells rattle like wind chimes.

My granddaughter is tired so I carry her along the trail that leads back to the car. We pause along the way to hunt for fiddler crabs and again to pet someone’s new puppy. I ask Scarlett what she wished for. “I wished for a stuffed animal,” she says. “I like elephants. Is that a good wish?” A great white egret lands and disappears in the tall grass as I hold still for one more wish.

rain soaked earth
she springs to reach
a stepping stone

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