Sara Smollett

October 1998

Two young boys perhaps no more
than eight in age
had built her home that morning
out of decomposed rock,
ocean spray, and perhaps a bit too much

They had gone to lunch leaving her
alone to protect herself,
her castle, her decorated tower
of twigs, palm fronds, and sea
grapes, gritty, tasting of salt and coconut.

Her walls, such as they could be called
(for really there was very little and even less)
beat with a rhythm, vibration
of distant voices calling from afar
lulling her to false comforts
in the cool shade of newfound interiors.

Wet walls trickling down and the bottom rim
eating itself away slowly.
The voices rose with pounding urgency
and at once she felt their strength,
(the strength that was protecting her
the strength that could harm her).
Once, twice
They entered her shelter.

The boys returned, horrified, cursing at
blue and foam,
the invading brute they had
loved and feared.
They set to work
faster this time, as their fortress was
The would not let her be taken. (again)

Leaving bare shoulders exposed they fell to their knees
and dilligently dug further into the wet,
built walls,
experimented with different consistencies of sand,
rough, the waves splashing at their toes.
Suddenly, a larger wave, and their moat
was overflowing with white foam,
and their castle's precise angles rounded,
made more delicate.

They remained for hours hopeful,
hopelessly racing in youth
against the oldest of forces
they must, rebuilding her thrown,
monumental dedication to her, or rather

At dusk an older woman came to take
the reddened boys away from their erosion.
With a stick they left some marks in the sand
to disappear moments later.
She remained through the night
lonley, their queen, a smooth stone
burried under loose sand
and spinning waves.