This poem was first published in the Wisconsin Review.
My daughter lives inland, three thousand
miles away, and I sit by the shore
and skim stones. I remember an early morning
she sat beside me here. We walked on the sand,
all four feet bare, hers for the first time.
She ran in and out of the waves, laughing,
and I named the shells for her. Soon her soles
softened in the brine, and the mussel shards
stung her toes. We turned back, the wind
behind us now, and I carried her. My shoulders
blocked her from the icy breeze, though it blew
chill against my nape. Later I showed
her how to pick a smooth stone, how
to toss it with a light flick of wrist.