With Child
Marni Asplund-Campbell, editor

Getting Away
How It Happens Again and Again
Dixie Lee Partridge

[p.137]Digging in bright sand, my son at five
is struck by what his brother tells him:
light of the stars already old,
the sun’s rising several moments
before he feels the lick of warmth
across his face.

They sit in the hole they have dug,
sifting warm sand onto their bellies.
Beside me in the shade of ancient black rock
their sister sleeps, lips slightly parted
over the metal of braces, her face
turned toward me in open amnesia.

A breeze whips up a shower of sand
but she sleeps on. My sons’ voices continue
non-stop, the wind lifting syllables
like small, white petals
I catch only glimpses of.

We come here because the shore
is the one place we can do nothing
without boredom or guilt:
whether it’s the constancy of the tides
washing through us again and again,
we let go of everything
to lounge in what we want to believe.

[p.138] Traces of sand have settled
in my daughter’s ear, over the curve
of her eyelid. The sun nears the horizon
of the other side of the world,
cities and continents driven with energies
suddenly staggering. For a moment
the plot of the earth’s story
shifts toward me …
that white dune, fear.