Our blue maxi-coats drag in the sand.

Leather boots slip. Sun glints

on double rows of silver buttons,

glances off the Mediterranean.

Sandstone cliffs stand serene,

umbrella pine trees beckon.


On the beach, we shiver, undress,

fold corduroy skirts and wool sweaters,

tuck bras and panties deep within layers of clothing.


We pad down the beach, run into the ocean,

flinch at the cold swipe of curling waves

at our waists. We catch our breath,

lie back on soft green swells. The sea

lifts and rocks, laps our bodies. Our hair streams

around our heads. We stare

into the cloudless January sky.


Voices reach over the water like radio

signals. You’re taking too long! It’s cold!

The boys are walking away.

But we know they turned their backs

long ago. A seagull mocks from the cliff top.


We turn, tiptoe over a steady stream

of hushing waves, reach the beach.

Our skins tingle. Sea salt wind

fusses around our faces. We inhale

ocean air laced with scent of pine.

We are alone, no longer in thrall.