They are building a world
and the plastic is fading:
Margaret and Eddie’s
buckets are split,
pouring out the warm Atlantic
as they race
along the tidal flat,
filling pools connected
by frantically dug canals.

Tommy squats naked
and screams in guttural joy
at the solitary horseshoe crab
donated by a stranger
with a large belly
and a huge smile.

Charlie thrashes through the shallows
chasing crabs
and impossible minnows.

Emma is happy
to let only the wind
fill her net.

Pipo steps warily
and warns us sternly
in his broken English
to anticipate the massive toad
lurking in the undertow.

Kaleigh stands far away
toes lapped
by the edge of gravity.

She is almost a teenager.
I see her
framed in a setting sun,
stretching out her arms,
holding back
the inevitable tide.

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