The Summer I was Three
by Gloria Bennett

_________ For: Perry Ludlam, my grandfather

I’ll always remember
my grandfather
the way he was
at Mexico Beach,
the summer I was three.

Far from shore,
the salty spray
plastered dark ringlets
to my tiny forehead,
partially obscuring my view
of the shoreline.

I could taste bitter salt
as it clung to my lips,
and waves crashed
all around me.

He lifted me high
on sturdy shoulders,
where I knew no harm
could come to me.

We were at Mexico Beach,
it was summer,
and I was three.

Years later,
no longer a child, I sit
with him under shade trees
still standing in his yard.

I wrap a quilt around
frail shoulders, made
weak by the passage of time

and taste the bitter salt
as my tears reach my lips.

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