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[Poetry] Two Poems by Barbara Eckroad

Body Surfing

Mother said the corn flakes will cause cramps

so you wait till your breakfast is digested

before you go in the water. Next, find

your yellow satin suit, still damp

on the clothesline in the morning fog.

Flip flops grate on the sandy sidewalk

and the sun breaks through in sudden

bursts, layering warm patches on

the beach. Watch out for broken bottles

left by drinkers from far away places.

By this time, the day is fully awake

and you feel the breeze picking up

from out near Catalina somewhere.

Even the gulls are ready to ride

the air like gleeful champions.

You like the contact between your feet

and the crunchy white sand,

the free taste of salty mist in your mouth

the gray green cold of building monsters,

rolling in, like armies you must conquer.

Out past the foam, you spot the rise

and fall of high sets growing

and speeding toward you. You look around,

knowing you are alone in the water

only you must face the demons.

So you dive beneath the roiling tide.

You are caught in battle, the ocean’s power

and agitation surround you, turbulent and thundering

like a tornado. You yield and fight and smile

at the same time, your heart dancing.

You finally catch your breath, and emerge

onto the smooth surface out past the breakers.

Floating on your back, you watch the sky

through its ghostly haze, and wait. Feel the throb

of sea life beneath your limbs.

Suddenly, you spot a rise, merely a ripple

far out near the horizon. Swim hard toward

the swell, feel the rip current want to carry you

into deep water. The wave rises and crests. You

swim over its top and look down.

Ten feet loom between you and the outgoing

undertow. Your body flies along the rim. You

tuck your head, the sea tearing, pulling, pushing.

Arms held tight against your body, you glide

like a torpedo onto the long empty beach.

Mother at work, no lifeguards on this

Spring day. You own the world in

ten-year-old wonder. After a breathless

rest, you run into the foamy water again.

Ebb and Flow

Tsunamis rush through the world’s

oceans from deep shaking beneath

the earth. Sneaker waves shock you

when you’re searching the tidepools

for sea stars and sea anemones. These

waves wash across the beach and

knock you down.

You have day after regular day of ebb

and flow, then, Boom! Something comes

along to jolt you out of your oblivion.

Maybe it’s something fun to laugh about,

but, Beware! or the rushing water can

overtake you, dashing you against the rocks.

Waves recede, you shake yourself

off and drag your salty limbs up onto

dry sand into sunshine so welcome

you feel like a queen or a king on the

day of your coronation. You crawl to

your towel like a hermit crab having

found a new, better fitting shell.

Barbara Eckroad grew up on the Ocean Front in Balboa, California. She has master's degree in English with a concentration in creative writing. She is a former elementary school teacher and volunteers as a teacher, small group facilitator, library bookstore clerk and literacy tutor. Eckroad hosts a writing group every Friday afternoon in her backyard under an avocado tree. You can find her poems in Free State Review, The Bohemian, The Write Stuff, Bard and Prose and in the poetry anthology Above the Fold.


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