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Sitting on a towel atop the sizzling sand,
I’m warm, wet, and a little tired
Absentmindedly searching for shells with my damp, sandy, hand
I look up to see the wine-dark ocean chomping its foamy mouth
Gobbling at the jam of people skittering around the beach clutching their boards
And gulping for a breath in the water
Pretty sure it is about to take my brother
Instead it just gives him a free joy ride

I push my pink cheeks in, feeling for a burn
Sandpipers rush to pick clams out of the murk, jumping back from the waves
Seagulls shout and bicker over a half-full bag of Doritos
Mom snaps at us to hide our snacks
My little brother defiantly holds up a Pizza Flavor-Blasted Goldfish
Hoping to lure a bird to his hand
Cheese dust staining his tiny, pruny, fingers

My cousins, with salt-soaked hair and rough red sand rashes,
Beckon me to Boogie Board with them,
And to search for sand crabs with Grandpop
(Even though Nana yells at him “not to go out too far!”)

When we come back, I sneak a second soda and a bag of Popchips from the snack bag,
Hiding them from Mom behind my cousin’s drip castle
I watch as her hand dips into the bucket,
Then lets the wet drizzly sand dribble through her fingers,
Shaping tall towers of mud

A moment later my two little brothers bumble over the castle
Like little dragons careening into warm, wet, hugs from Mom

Look at the waves
Look at the Waves, Photo by Ula Pomian

Molly DellaValla Tuesday at the Shore
Molly DellaValla, 10
Jackson, NH

Ula Pomian Look at the waves
Ula Pomian, 11
Ontario, Canada