At Low Tide

At Low TideI was walking across the beach at low tidethat time of day when you can see the tidepoolsI was young I don’t remember where or whenjust marveling that I could walk for what seemed like a milethrough water up to my anklesI was afraid of waterI never got the dolphins gypsy soulpanic always set in once my feet left the ground.The people there were having a conversationabout a man who’d drowned his wife and triedto make it look like an accident.The cops didn’t buy it he’d gotten twenty yearsand I didn’t know if a child was left behindbut I’d heard you could drown in as little as a glass of waterI looked out at the receded ocean and had my doubtsbut not of its power that I could sincerely feel.Four years ago at ChristmasI saw a blurb on page four of the newspaperabout an earthquake under the sea in Indonesiathat had killed about a hundred peoplea story that grew with each passing dayto numbers inconcievable in the western worldabout a Tsunami that swallowed everything in its pathmiles inland and countries wide.I saw the news and the videoshow the water receded miles out to seahow the people were drawn out drawn as if from a wellthere were children pointing it was rare to beholdwalking out towards the moon eclipsing the sunso far away and yet close enough to feeluntil the rolling tide came in doubledand those same exposed people ran screamingfor higher ground.One landing highertwo landings higher and stillcame the seawater streaming in a white boilthe screams of an old woman clinging to a railher husband reaching for her and thenher letting go and then it was his turn to disappearand yet they kept filming made everyone a witnessto the pull at low tide to look into the abyss.I live across a mountain range from the oceanacross the sound from itmy daughter can’t understand why at sixteen I stillwalk alongside her when we go to the shore.It’s a pity I’ve gotten all this respect for itand not a bit of a dolphins soulthose pearls that were the sailors eyes can seethose places where I will not go.

At Low Tide

bill bell

Everett, United States

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