Stephanie Lee Jackson

Angela Narciso Torres

Driving Home After Three Days in Aptos

We carry more than we arrived with—
piles of wet clothes, twice-folded maps,
sand-heavy towels, trowels, pails 
of pink seashells, sandals in five sizes.
At Seacliff, the beach is strewn with scores 
of dead jellyfish, in ice-blue arcs 
across the shore. A faded sign reads: 
wind-sailors-of-the-sea … travel in flotillas, 
sails to the breeze … washed ashore 
yearly after spawning season

On a sun-bleached resting ground,
our brown boys run waveward 
then return, leaving sea gifts 
on our driftwood bench: crab shell, 
feather, sand dollar, stone. A lifeguard 
strums on his guitar. In the distance, 
a woman in gray is walking her dogs. 

Another spring, I’ll return to this shore 
with my old man. Having traded 
the van, we’ll pack our sunhats, 
some books, coffee in a flask. I’ll wear 
a yellow sundress; he’ll bring his guitar. 
We’ll leave every shell unturned— 
no buckets to fill, no treasures to keep. 
And the stones will weep for sleeping sailors. 
The sand will rise to silent footfall. The gulls’ 
cries will break the low moaning of waves.