Dave Etter - "Undertow"

All perfect morning 
the ocean smiled 
as older folks 
happy in the surf 
screamed their great joy 
and splashed each other 
like the children 
they used to be 
so long ago 
and then after lunch 
came mid-afternoon 
and more than a few 
reclaimed the waves 
they called their own 
and the undertow 
came upon them 
slowly slowly 
and tried to push 
them out to sea 
as if going home 
was not pain enough 
at sad summer’s end 
but no one spoke 
of not returning 
in a year’s time 
to the long sand beach 
of bright umbrellas 
and cool breezes 
nor complained of their 
grim operations 
and the dark fear 
of nursing homes 
nor talked of not 
being alive 
anywhere at all 
in the whole wide world 
and the sun ball sank 
lower and lower 
in a low gray sky 
loud with seagulls 
as the chartered bus 
crawled up the hill 
to the highway 
and joined the heavy 
traffic heading north 
leaving behind 
what these old folks 
could not take with them 
except in their 
sun-kissed memories

“Undertow” copyright © 2006 by Dave Etter.