by Zoe-Aline Howard
at the edge of everything a child with a fist of cherry cotton candy
soaking water from saline air and who brings cotton candy to the beach
sugar sand water waves that fold between walking legs
and soak my grown thighs, so the denim rubs.
loggerheads nest within walking distance of crystal pier. mother,
I am always reminding that child to take one breath. hold her hold me.
I am still that child walking where turtles wait in pong balls and
who can grow in shells so hard.
mother, your stomach pressed flat with juice and lemon
made me taffy-moldable and waiting for the sun always but
the shore rushes to our feet. when september ends and the gulf currents
wash the turtles into rip and wharf. what then.
I will have the cotton candy no more than a bag of pink water.
I will sip it pink wine and sip it in silence. where are the mothers
of these children in overalls. where are their leather backs and beaks.
I will miss my mother, who I never miss. and I will sit. what then.
Zoe-Aline Howard is a BFA student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She splits her time between the sand and the red clay of her hometown in Kernersville, North Carolina. Find her on instagram @papyrusandwax and on twitter @zoealinewriter.