The beach at Alligator Point – barren
save bird print and sneaker tread,
where we come each week: the dog to run,

chase scents, dig sea shells he carries,
briefly held treasures until another takes his fancy;
and me to walk in silence of waves and wind.

No responsibility – passing time, I scan the sky
and sea – the hour late for zeppelin-like brown pelicans
that suddenly reverse direction, plummet from the air,

dive to scoop small fish beneath the water;
early for the dolphin, my sometime companion,
tracks our progress, swims in shallow surf, up and back,

makes occasional speed sprints towards the shore.
I have heard they sometimes ground themselves,
glad this one stops short, does not get stuck.

Once I saw a giant sea turtle, dead in the sand,
its eyes bleeding fluid where gulls had pecked.
A week later it was gone, not even the carapace remained.

Unused to raw reality we hide behind ceremony:
wash and wrap in shroud or clothes – Sunday best, eyes shut,
then burn or bury or both, or scatter in a favorite site.

I, undecided, keep my family close – cremains
in boxes on the linen shelf, an embarrassment
when guests arrive, a comfort when I’m alone.

Linda J. Himot
published in Emerge Literary Journal, October, 2012