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Wednesday, August 19, 2015


by Shirley Brewer


The sea calls, deep with freedom
and risk. A sparkling summer day,
a fishing adventure off the Florida coast
in their 19-foot boat. Born on the water,
the two teens learned to walk in water.
Are they heading toward a destination,
maybe the Bahamas, paradise,
an escape from the mundane? Nature
sings in open air, until the squalls.
When the boat capsizes, they become
lost boys. The ocean no longer a home;
it swallows them whole. Despite
days of searching, the sea rules.
The boat turns up, far away from the place
where they set out. The boys are missing.
Too much. Too much water.


A family of three from France
plans for a whole year to visit
the Wild West. A five-week journey.
Week One goes well. Then, New Mexico,
White Sands National Monument. They arrive
at noon, 100+ in the August desert.
What prompts them to set out
on the longest trail—4.6 miles, no shade—
with only two small bottles of water?
In the dreamer’s mind, a vision of adventure
doesn’t come with a temperature.
Mother heads back to the truck, feeling unwell.
She drops and dies. Father falls, stops breathing—
his tongue swollen. Their 9-year-old son will live.
Sands blow and shift: cruel beauty, brutal sun.
Not enough. Not enough water.

Shirley J. Brewer (Baltimore, Maryland) is a poet, educator and workshop facilitator. In addition to TheNewVerse.News, her poems appear in Passager, Stone Canoe, Spillway, Little Patuxent Review, Gargoyle, The Comstock Review, and other journals. Her poetry chapbooks include A Little Breast Music, 2008, Passager Books, and After Words, 2013, Apprentice House/Loyola University.