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Six and One Hand in Hand In Piñones

Five pelicans keep their place in a vee

to remind us it’s time to form our circle

before the clouds trap us in their shadows

and there’s not enough sea and too much sand

to make our ritual words reach the corners

of our cobwebbed universe.

We start

holding hands, drop them, find our set order,

mother, daughter, mother, daughter,

and the third pair of mother and daughter again,

the six that renew each sense in our beachside feast

on chosen days where slides and slips

in water are nothing more than a tug

of a ring on the shore.

Today another pair of hands

is among us, those of an eight-year-old niece

with curly long hair she shakes, coping

so much with parents recently divorced

that she spends her time in the water

looking at the horizon through blue goggles,

wanting the jet skis to get closer but happy

they are hidden by the giant waves

that bear down upon us.

She’s the seventh

in the circle. She too will learn to transform

vagary into vision as she writes

her third-grade name in the book of breakers

approaching our shores. With her hands.

With flying pelicans. With us.


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