Barefoot   she walks the strand   conscious her man

is somewhere in the swelling darkness   where Proteus rises

Her feet sink in sand   as waves wash around them   lifting

granules & bits of shell   & setting them down   constantly shifting

the distinction between sea & land   like the line in her mind

between what is   & what seems to be


Along this tranquil bay   where her mother   & her mother’s

mother   both spent their powers mending nets   she shrugs

at the difference   for her heart is drawn beyond the glimmer

of distant lights   & so much of what she sees is hers   she hears

the howl   of wind across the water   like a blowing

through Triton’s twisted conch shell


For her daughter   such fancies are as worn as the heels

she wears while shopping   & a horn   only blares

when she’s slow to step from the street   Her hours

consist of getting & spending   so out of tune

with her mother’s world   bleared & smeared   like lipstick

on a little girl   Her feet   so fashionably shod   are unable to feel


But when tide is full   & the moon lies fair on the water

together   mother & daughter will stroll   kicking shoes aside

where there’s joy & love   & sufficient light   to know

reality dwells in the sand   & the shallows   & the deep down things

where unseen   bending over the darkling plain

the Holy Spirit   whispers   with such bright wings




  • D.S. Martin is the author of five poetry collections, including Ampersand (2018), and his newly-released book Angelicus (2021) — both from Cascade Books. He is Poet-in-Residence at McMaster Divinity College. He is also the Series Editor for the Poiema Poetry Series, where he has edited more than thirty poetry collections, and three anthologies. He and his wife live in Brampton, Ontario; they have two adult sons

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