My Son Discovers the Draw of Water

Samuel, Gulf Shores, 2005

He was still getting used to the sand between his toes
when the cool Gulf water crashed around his thighs,
knocking him back, then drawing him closer to home.

It took barely a second for his face
to go from complaint to laughter, for him to feel
the rhythm of the tide, to taste the salt

splashing his smile. Three steps forward, two steps
back. Again and again. All light and love.
It wasn’t until the water reached his chest

he realized this was more than a game of chase,
more than simple joy, and that all pleasures
come with a price. He turned to shore and cried

for us to bring him back to the heavy sand.

Jack Bedell
from his book Call and Response
Texas Review Press, 2009
Used by permission of the poet.

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