Fall 2015, Volume 19

Poetry by James Valvis

Girl at the Beach

She pounds her one ear to remove ocean
from the other. Sand clings to her knees
like psoriasis. With a towel, she dries
each wadded strand of cream-colored hair.
She looks off at the bleary horizon,
perhaps at the leaden clouds that threaten
the afternoon with rain. She’s mostly naked.
I can almost make out in the suntanned
and oil-slick skin the sound of a lullaby.
She’s humming it to herself as she dries
one strand, then another. Twenty years ago
she wouldn’t have seemed to me to be
the child she is. I would have
wanted desperately, recklessly to hold her.
Now this is enough, to sit and study
the sadness sleeping in those salt-stung eyes,
a sadness she does not yet know is there,
one I’m content to let another be its cause.




James Valvis has placed poems or stories in
Arts & Letters, Barrow Street, Ploughshares, River Styx, The Sun, and many others. His poetry was featured in Verse Daily. His fiction was chosen for the 2013 Sundress Best of the Net. A former US Army soldier, he lives near Seattle and semi-regularly gets in trouble at valvis.net.