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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dragging the Beach, Chain of Lakes, Harriet (Reading for Poets n' Pints)

Dragging the Beach

I was eight years old the year I dragged the beach
That day the whistles from the lifeguards blew, shrill
Blasts of sound repeating, urgent and foreboding
Broken only by the call of voices; commanding
Everybody in, every-body in

Arms waving, ushering all of us off the dock
Calling us in, out of the cool water, back to the beach
To the hot sand, to the waiting arms of moms and dads
Me, to my oldest sister and her friends who took me there
The year that Star Wars came to theatres
The summer I dragged the beach, It was scorching
In August, that day we waited, for a word, for news
Waited for someone, we waited…for the police
And a boy who was missing, a boy who could not hear the whistle calling
Every-body in, every body in

Arms waving below the surface, trapped beneath the dock
Flailing for help in the cold-cold water, stretching toward the beach
Reaching, the end of his breath, hoping for arms and hands
For mom and dad, to free him from that place
On the day I dragged the beach, the police diver went ahead
Went into the water, where the rest of us followed, arms linked
A chain of people, stretched from buoy to buoy, from end to end
Hand in hand, stepping slowly into the darkened lake
Every body in, E v e r y b o d y i n

We walked out to the buoys, and were told to stop, our human chain
dragging the shallows for the body of the missing boy, I imagined
Finding him, the memory of that imagining still finds me
From that hot day in August, in the hour we dragged the beach

I read this Poem from my Collection, at the June gathering of Poets n’ Pints, June 15th, 2016

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