At The Water’s Edge

The back story:  My Grandma was wheelchair enabled my whole life due to the polio epidemic. Years ago, we went to the lake together. At that time, I am ashamed to admit that I was a surly, frankly, hungover, 20-something. I would rather have been in bed than driving in a bumpy van for hours, only to stand under the hot sun. I wrote this poem imagining myself in her place. And wishing I could apologize to her now.


At The Water’s Edge


Joy spreads through me

Warming my dulled limbs

As I watch from the street

Encased in my metal cage


After tossing your shoes to the side

Your feet start flicking up sand

Flinging it into the air

The sun burns down on both our faces

Mine a golden brown

Bronzed from hours of watching


Out in the sun


Your face remains covered

Slathered in a strong spf

Protecting the fair princess

From an outbreak of freckles

That would surely leave you bereft


I watch as you near the water’s edge


To ask if you must

I nod

Slightly annoyed

You don’t realize how much I yearn

To be in your place


Quickly replacing my expression

A smile warms my face

Forward you go

Each footstep more tentative



You plunge your toes into the frigid coolness


I imagine my toes there

The icy water sucking at them

How joyful it would be!


As you shriek and complain

I wonder,


Will you know what it’s like for me?

Stuck in my chair

Only able to dream and remember

The freedom you have

As your feet stomp back to the special bus

Sand coats their sides


I remember sand…

When I lay on a beach

So long ago…

It was my children

That dumped buckets of sand

Covering my arms and thighs



I hope that someday

You will know

What today has meant to me

For a moment

A brief moment

You set me free