By Sarah E. Murphy
As small, suburban flowers
we were replanted
in more nourishing, salty soil
and the ocean soon became
the backdrop of our lives.
It roared to us on ghostly winter nights
while we burrowed in tiny beds
assuring us we’d soon return.
And so we did.
For at the close of each school year
our sandals found their way to water’s edge
dreading the red swimsuits
and noses greased with sunblock warpaint.
Instead we prayed for rainy days
too stormy to practice the crawl
so we could revel in the warmth
of off-season sweats
huddled around the Pentas’ TV
watching Ghostbusters and Meatballs
on a rented VCR from Zoom Video.
And now the sea
which always joined us
as you embark on a semester
in our ancestral land.
On your last night
your relinquished your sandals
knowing you wouldn’t be needing them for awhile
so now I’m literally walking around in your shoes.
I only hope you return as promised
to collect them
for you’ve always followed your own lead
going left when Mom would say right
a cat always landing on all fours.
You who grew up before I could blink
suddenly singing effortlessly
while I, the stage mother
stood on the sidelines
clapping louder than anyone.
Come home to us, baby sister.
You must be missing your shoes.
Sarah E. Murphy/December 1996