The children clatter to that sudden end
flapping red spades and plastic shoes.
Their bare legs glare and ring on iron stone,
scattering the snatching gulls into the air.
We wait between the water and the land,
unsure how long to stay, or when to turn
our backs against the pulling of the waves.
We stand, like silent girls that stood before,
who bent and scraped and fretted each grey dawn,
for knuckled men who pulled at nets and oars.
You walk back first and do not see me take
a picture, poorly framed and full of sun,
the children’s sandy feet, a corner of your shirt,
your slow retreat from what we might have done.