Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Beach Ball” by Sierra July. Ms. July is a University of Florida graduate, writer, and poet. Her fiction has appeared in Acidic Fiction and Saturday Night Reader, among other places, and is forthcoming in Belladonna Publishing's anthology Strange Little Girls. Her poetry has been featured in The Society of Classical Poets, as well as in the Songs of Eretz quarterly e-zine and previously in the Review. To follow her progress, check out her website: talestotellinpassing.blogspot.com.
Your skin feels like the beach, rough,
Though slick, glazed with the salt brine.
I hold your hand as the light fades away,
Your eyes eaten pallid, lights out.
I remember when you were the beach,
Your eyes the sun, fierce, warm, your legs
The waves, always moving as you ran
Place to place, never planning on returning,
Not being able once they’d left you—
A sandcastle grinded into a mound, that’s how fast,
How painful your legs left you.
In a flash you were condemned to stubs, confined to a chair.
I wept, but you didn’t, not so I could see.
You were bounced from hospital to hospital,
Allowing the muck of sterilization to cling to you,
Infect your summer breeze aroma.
Passed from one doctor’s hands to another, never landing long,
A beach ball, till you settled.
Somehow you lie here, still inflated
And that’s how I’ll remember you.
Poet's Notes: This was my attempt at a greeting card's sentimentality with the heart of a short story. I wanted to tell the stages of this old couple's past and relate it to something. I thought that the beach was the best thing. The way the waves roll in day-in and day-out is like a promise. I decided later to go further with the metaphor and thought of relating the narrator's dying wife to a beach ball, bouncing place-to-place and deflating, but, if inflated again, capable of having the same surface area and abilities, all her beauty and purpose restored.
Editor’s Note: The beach/beach ball conceit works well, and the double meaning of "sterilization" gives me chills.