News Sendai, Japan . . . Beach Walk Sanibel Island, USA

By Barbara Rockman

The horizon had not yet consulted the shore,

nor the sand set its edge. As plates shifted

sea swept in. Windsor knots

centered. Bowls rinsed of rice.

A child refused what was offered.

Docks of crates. Admission of love.

Hello Kitty strapped to a girl’s back.

Umbrellas tight as spears


The news: He has not found   


The grapefruit, the bougainvillea.


his missing son     nor she

her wheelchair-bound mother


Morning walk:

whelk, cocina, scallop

I return the live, pocket the fractured.


Family garden disappeared:


Collectors drag nets at dawn.


the walls for leaning against, disappeared;

scythe in the shed, gone: the shed, the blade,

its need of sharpening.


Where was my house, asked the girl


Bowman’s Beach: Only Leashed Dogs



new signs:


Playground Closed will come later:

sealed windows.


Here, open shutters, dolphins and the gulf’s


convulsions, petit mal, yet, I scan the sand:

there, my girl reapplies sunblock.

My hands could ring her waist:



the world. White masks come later,


kilometers of particles:

the reactor’s rods will boil

and spew.


At the edge,

a retiree plants his pole and waits.


My husband, not missing. Distant,


at the end of the pass

he lifts binoculars.


I practice my grip

around his wrist. Later,


tourists will blast the cork, toast a fiery



but now, it is morning

in heaven


air, soft as soot.


* “News, Sendai, Japan…” first appeared in Caveat Lector


Barbara Rockman lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she leads poetry workshops and teaches at Santa Fe Community College.

Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Bellingham ReviewCalyx, Cimarron ReviewLouisville ReviewNimrod International Journal and Spoon River Poetry Review. She is editor of the anthology Women Becoming Poems. She has received the Southwest Writers Prize, the New Mexico Discovery Award, The MacGuffin Poet Hunt Prize, Baskerville Publishers’ Prize and two Pushcart Prize nominations. She was a 2012 Associate Artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts.

She earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is the author of the poetry collection, Sting and Nest (Sunstone Press, 2011) which received the 2012 National Press Women Poetry Book Award.

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