Charleston, 1959

We are no longer children
to look back on, our faces turned back
in elegant black and white, hands raised
towards some forgotten goodbye.

I have iced water in a blue glass
and miss the ocean. You, the younger one,
grip time in your fist, lifted
in a toast to our father,
who still fishes summers off Charleston.

Here is the set of things.
To tell you the Sunday after David died,
daddy pulled his lips, folded them
into the sands of his face and ceased to speak.
A stoney silence; the rock crags of a seawall.

To tell you months after he closed himself,
he opened again; put his hand inside
his other hand, brought them to his salted heart,
rubbed them across his driftwood mouth.
"My son David was dragging net for prawns,
in Calabash, where it gets dark early.
My boy is sun and water and blue."

His hands opened; what was held there
swelled, broke apart like whitecaps to a shore.
I placed my fist in his and to my briny lips.

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