As I sit here writing, I wonder, is it wrong to want to shrink into my written word, to pretend the world is okay when it is not? The thing is, I don’t live on fantasies. I am a realist. I don’t know how long I can pretend the world is safe when it is not.
I went to Walmart today. I had a return. As I stood in line waiting for the clerk to call me up to the desk, I saw a young white man come into the store. He kept holding onto his sweatshirt or hoodie down near his crotch like he didn’t want something to fall out. He paced a little bit as if he were looking for something or someone. As he did this I kept an eye on him until he finally disappeared into the store. I felt bad for what I was thinking. I felt paranoid for thinking it. What I thought was, “Does he have a weapon?”
The tragedy in Texas is obviously on my mind. The ubiquitous and non-sensical violence is playing tricks on my mind and imagination. However, as a realist, I don’t think we should feel safe anywhere these days. I cannot imagine not feeling safe in a school, a church, or a grocery store.
These feelings are what make me want to disappear into my written word, my poetry, and narratives of my ordinary, yet happy life, amused and awed by nature. I realized when the war started in Ukraine that I don’t like to write of sad, horrific, or non-sensical events. I have not written of the war. I mean, what do I know of that kind of trauma or disruption to life? Not anything. I write what I know.
Therefore, the poem I offer this week is based on a happy memory. It is one of searching for sand dollars on a Florida beach many years ago. My happy memories give me comfort when the world is traumatically torn by violent acts against innocents. This is the reason I shrink into my writing. I hope you understand.
On to Amelia Island’s Beach
Sand dollar riches floated in,
It was 1990 something, when
We hunted for them.
Up before dawn to walk on the sand
With the sky turning orange, never bland.
As the surf pounded too, collecting so many
Was a surprise for both me and you!
But then I had to tell you that we must
Leave them there in the wet and shifting sands.
As a tiny animal lives inside and needs
The Sea water to thrive.
I knew you’d understand,
Although you were just five.
The next morning, we got up,
Around the same time.
To go back to the beach and
See how many sand dollars we could find.
Again, they all were complete shells
With tiny animals inside,
So off to the gift shop to get one to keep
Now it hangs on our tree so we can peep
At a memory of Sand Dollar hunting
On Amelia Island’s Beach.
© Draft. Carol Labuzzetta, 2022
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could have a sand dollar memory?
Today is Poetry Friday! Our host for the round-up is LInda at A Word Edgewise. Thank you for hosting LInda! Please check out her page for links to more great poetry!