Tsunami

“Let’s go to the beach!”

We cried.  And you smiled and 
Said with your mouth that you were happy to go
And your eyes did not move.

“Isn’t the water beautiful?”
We cried.  And you smiled and 
Said with your mouth that it was so very beautiful
And your eyes clouded in the bright summer sun.

“Come into the water with us!  The beautiful, cool water!”
We cried.  And you smiled and
Said that the water was beautiful indeed
With your toes tautly anchored in the shifting sand.

“Come ride the waves with us!”
We cried.  And you smiled and 
Said that you wanted to try
As you clutched yourself in the rising surf.

“The water is so very cold!”
You cried.  And we smiled at your winter-white skin 
Wondering why the water was so cold for you
Only for you.

“The water is so very cold!”
You cried.  And we smiled as you withdrew 
From the water’s embrace,
Retreating under t-shirts and sweaters and shorts and towels and sunglasses and hats
Far from the water’s edge.

Perhaps for you the water will always forever be cold.  
Perhaps for you the water will always be treacherous.

You flung yourself from your island home across the ocean
Gasping and panting for air on our shores, breathing language so different from your own.
Never far from the ocean that ravaged your own shores
And ravages them still in your dreams so that you fall asleep only with the light on.

Perhaps you will always be watching the ocean.
Perhaps you will always wonder when it will return for the rest of you.

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