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Waiting For High Tide 
by M. Kathryn Black

Wooden skiffs lay upside down
at the top of the small beach
where I always used to swim.
The sand was hot there
and dry black seaweed crinkled
like plastic Easter grass;
gull feathers and bleached shells
hid in stiff nests,
once a heron's skull
attached to a wing,
feathers turning back to dust.

There'd been an old pier long agoŚ
then only a piling or two.
Lots of clay pipes, mostly
stems or bowls covered in algae,
a piece of a porcelain doll,
bits of pottery, some with designs
flowed in with shells for the picking,
tin pails for children's treasures.

We were little engineers
as the tide crept back;
aqueducts, dams, canals
and irrigation ditches for the moat.
We always turned very brown
those summer afternoons.
I remember wading in bright water,
minnows eating me till I giggled
and wanting the water so deep,
never once looking at the sky.

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