I do not conquer waves by riding
them to shore, nor stoop, scoop
up shells and carry home the loot,
nor pin right name on gull and flying
For miles at the very edge
between vast water and vast sand,
feeling nothing but the steady wind,
hearing only the unbroken sound
of the breaking surf, I trudge

somnambulist, soaking up the beach
like a sea sponge. The powerful
dim sensations at last reach
The slender ladders of my molecules.
Homecoming! All my cells exult.

Safety Pin

What’s “safe” about a safety pin?
Its sharp point hooks into a one-eyed metal shield.
You can carry the pin in your pocket
And it won’t poke through
To damage the fabric or wound your skin.

A shirt safety-pinned together is a sign of neglect.
The boy’s mother doesn’t care
Or can’t afford the supplies for sewing on a button.

Home from the hospital with a new baby,
I cannot make the large pin pierce the cloth diaper.
How can I be so unprepared?
My mother knows the secret.
Keep the pins, point down, in a cake of soap.

My father’s vision is too poor, his hand too shaky
To fasten a safety pin.
Yet, cleaning out his dresser drawers,
I discover a vast array of safety pins
Silvery, copper colored, all sizes
A supply sufficient to hold together his unraveling world.