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Wednesday, July 06, 2016


by Bette Lynch Husted

A German rescuer holds the corpse of a drowned baby off the Libyan coast May 27. Source: Christian Buettner/Eikon Nord GmbH Germany via Reuters and The Washington Post, May 31, 2016.

“Again! again! again!”
On our way to the Pacific
we snuggle in the back seat
with The Poky Little Puppy
“Rice pudding,” our little traveler echoes,
“He likes it!”

At the beach, we splash through
currents, waves breaking warm
around her ankles

Bodies small as hers
wash up on other shores,
refuse of war
their families refused
safe passage


My son’s body
in green-white breakers

He resurfaces
and waves

A yellow shovel
shapes her first sandcastle
A man says he wants only
to bury his children
and sit by their graves
until he dies

Fresh from her evening bath,
her dark head emerging from a white-towel chrysalis
safe in her father’s arms
both of them laughing—

Beneath the Milky Way
the sea returns
again again again    

Bette Lynch Husted lives in Eastern Oregon, where she chairs a monthly writers’ series. Her books include two collections of memoir essays, Lessons from the Borderlands and Above the Clearwater: Living on Stolen Land, and the poetry collection At This Distance.