Anna Weaver

a flatlander visits the beach

Andromeda and Perseus by Felix Vallotton

She looks like all the other out-of-towners—
hair undamaged by salt, black bathing suit,
pareo the color of sunset seen through a dust cloud.

If you were on the dunes, you’d think she was gazing.
Only the waves and the pelicans know
this is a stare-down.

While the others make ready to prostrate
themselves along the beach, she alone
has come to say to the ocean,
I do not need you.

I come from big sky—bigger than you and bluer,
with mystery deep enough to float
all your little explorers to an airy death.

I come from the townhouse behind the parkway,
where the cars sing me to sleep in all seasons—
a rhythm fit for drowning and brackish
on the tongue.

You can have your short summers
and the shifting dark of your shallows.
I choose the still ground—where wind
makes an event of ordinary days, a wildness
you cannot fathom.

From the dunes, you will see her turn
away and wonder why the smile, why
she looks back once more before leaving.
Only the ocean will hear her say, You
are too small for me


About the writer:
Anna Weaver writes as a former soldier, a mind imprinted under Oklahoma sky, and a woman “with loyalties scattered over the landscape.” Her poems have appeared in Connotation Press, O-Dark-Thirty, One, and elsewhere—earning nominations for the Pushcart and other prizes. She has performed her poetry in 27 states.

Image: Andromeda and Perseus by Felix Vallotton (1865-1925). Oil on canvas. 36.2 x 28.7 inches. 1907. Public domain.