This water will never forgive you.
You may be able to rise from it
but you will never be clean.
You will always notice bits
of kelp on the pillow of
her bed in the morning,
falling out of your clothes
as you peel them off each night.
This water will follow you,
engulf you on dry land,
spray up from your lungs
as you stretch out on the beach,
your memory mixing my scent with
hers. You will always smell
like this water, salt and decay.
Even if you sacrifice six bulls to Poseidon,
even if you cut into your own palm,
offer your wine-dark blood to the waves,
no, not even then will this water forgive you.
I wash our son in the tub,
hold his head in the cup
of my hand to keep his face
above the water line.
I start with his eyes because the nurse
said they are the cleanest part.
His fingers trawl through the warmth
as I work my way to his soft belly.
He laughs, but you will never hear this
because your ears are plugged with sand.
Meghan Trask Smith teaches English at a boarding school in Massachusetts where she lives with her cartoonist husband, indefatigable children, and one very fuzzy dog. She shows up to writing each day with the hope that the Muse will visit. Her work has appeared in Mom Egg Review, Blast Furnace Journal, cahoodaloodaling, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, and Quiet Circle Magazine.