My Mother the Sea Skirting Nymph

Long before she lost her leg,

before five-year-old me scratched her cornea,

before she had her cancerous breast removed,

Mom was a water ballerina.

When our family went on vacation to Sanibel- back before it became trashy and shark ridden,

Mom would put on her simple bathing suit from last year and the one before that and the one before that and so on.

Next, she would put in her weighted fake boob and something was lost from her sparkle.

Then, unable to swim because of all of these stupid things,

she would walk miles up and down the beach collecting sea shells.

As a child, I thought it was her passion.

A shell hard to be unique and lovely in any form to go in Mom’s bucket.

So, day by day, morn til you couldn’t see your hand it was so dark, Mom would trudge the beach always looking out for jellyfish though I am sure dad would have urinated on her.

Mom , barefoot, would dance with the ocean.

Sometimes, a cha cha…other times a fox trot,

but they all seemed a lustful waltz to an 8 year-old me.

Later, in the condo, the two of us would go through her finds!

I loved the spiral ones, because I could hear the ocean I had been swimming in all day.

Mom listened to all of the sea shells

I tried it, too, but heard nothing.

I told Mom she was being silly with me, but she swore she wasn’t.

She’ll after shell, she laid back and listened to her lover’s call.

But, I heard nothing at all.