Each June we went to the edge of the Atlantic
with blankets and sunscreen and cigarettes and
hoagies with extra oil, wrapped in wax paper.
Each year our blankets touched the blankets of strangers,
and each year we ran with abandon, that first day,
into her large waves, diving headfirst into her mouth,
and each year the undertow took us farther out to sea,
while we tread water, a graveyard beneath our feet,
the waves grinding us down like sea glass.
When summer was over, we brushed the seaweed
from our hair, and fingered the gills on our necks.
We licked the salt from each other’s skin
until the smell of Coppertone and Boardwalk faded –
until we traded summer for the rest of our lives.