By the seaside my daughter, age seven, sat down beside me
and nestled her body into mine and was still.
Her shoulder fit nicely in my armpit.
We sat together in the sun, looking out at the water,
which was clear and sparkling, as water sometimes is.
I had plotted and planned all morning to go somewhere
I wanted to go, and after awhile, not long,
I got up to go there.
If I had stayed, the moment would have ended
another way, I know: she would have asked
for a snack or wriggled away to swim. But that it was me
who broke the spell—
ocean, sand, our skin
reunited under the soft
pink and white blanket
printed with blue morning glories
we’d bought as a souvenir—
I wanted this poem to end with anything else but
oh, daughter, flower, I am sorry
was the only way it could.