Papakolea by Johanna
The woman stood just beyond the roving perimeter of sand and sea. She watched the waves lift bodies and place them back down. She heard the laughter of people diving under and smashing against the ocean's force. She took a step forward. The water overcame her feet, and as it pulled back, buried them. She imagined urchins, jelly fish, sharks, and Man-o' -War. She took a step back.
A young girl nearby twirled and skipped in the shallows. “Daddy,” she asked, “Why is the sand green?”
Her dad reached out to her as the water came up around her waist. When she stood firm, he let his arm hang back by his side. The woman listened. “From a volcano,” he answered. “The ocean picks up eroded olivine from this cinder cone and washes it on shore.”
“No, dad,” she said, “I mean the REAL reason.”
“Oh, you want the REAL reason.”
“Okay,” the dad started slowly, “the green sand is actually mermaid glitter.”
“Like fairy dust, only the mermaids use it to lure sailors under the water to their coral reef castles where they hold them prisoners forever.”
“How can they breathe down there?”
“The mermaid magic.”
“Oh, yeah.” The girl leaped out of the water and ran up the beach. She fell to her knees and began to dig a tunnel. The dad followed close behind.
The woman grabbed a handful of sand and examined the grains. She held them up to the horizon. She searched to see if anyone watched before she closed her eyes and sprinkled the mermaid glitter on her head.
A Walk by Forrest
Too late considering this bathing along the shore, not farthest away from her watching, older this time, so as not trying to pay attention in any faulty way, soon even wishing, patient, in the painless hope of someone else talking while walking, no one she knows, of course, who wouldn't belabor the opportunity, asking her sister her dainty name, hand extended friendly for her taking, no one noticing her not noticing, feeling much, much sunnier without her walking reminder, the little sister further away, much, much smaller, another set of prints in her sand.
Tides by Lyle
I had been buried in the sand for quite some time (such a subjective sentiment, time). Those monsters laughed and played in the tide while I baked. My toes began to curl in the sun. God — the sand! It was everywhere in my mouth. And worse! Given my proclivity to squirming, this immobility was — ironically, I suppose — paralyzing. Narrating my circumstances, I had hoped, if only to myself, would distance myself from this mockery of justice but it did nothing to alleviate the nausea. It was as if my whole body was being choked in a blood pressure cuff. An odd metaphor, to be sure, but even the blackness of the cuff is appropriate. I blinked as one of them ran by so that I would remember if they ever let me go. Beasts! Savages! I yelled. Thieves — again ironic (was this irony somehow a salve?) considering the crime I had been accused of. But the long, slow sigh of waves, their laughter (laughing!) and the gentle sea breeze carried my invectives off. Monsters, I sobbed. I could feel my will bending to theirs. This visceral, putative measure was working. Mortal wants carried me off.
[When you remember how you used to be, sometimes it makes you forget who you are.]
My breath became jagged and shallow. I confess I cried. I confess to everything. But it was too late. The tide had already begun to rise.
Samantha Who Listens to Music at the Beach by Alan
She liked to listen to Jose Gonzalez’s Veneer album at the beach and listen for how the waves, as they moved across the shore, would mingle with the nylon strings or, rather, the fingers strumming across the strings. Big haunting chords sprayed with sunlight. There is no such thing as a hiding place in this life, she would think as the music grew more intimate.
Someone would call to her, make a gesture toward the water. In these instances, she’d smile knowingly and, for the most part, simply let the energy of opportunity slide past her. Past last night’s prints in the sand, the undisturbed ones. What are the chances of that, she would think. To see the world in a grain of sand has absolutely nothing to do with eternity. Everything to do with intimacy.
And then at the point the water would reach her toes later in each afternoon and the crisp winged winds of evening’s promise would draft a few lines across her face, she would consider getting up, examine the urge as if sticking one’s hand into the body of a guitar or a summer or some other music-making thing.
Step Lightly by Bill
Looking down at the pigeon's carcass, thinking it had nearly gotten away when it smacked into the side of the train by a strong unexpected gust of wind to land painfully and fatefully with its back to one of the stray feral cats that lived along the barrier fences of the line, its wings untouched and splayed like an angel in glory on the concrete connected to a red and devoured ribcage where it had fallen once the little carnivore was done I decided I was tired – of winter, and the city and all of the phone calls about the case and needed to feel sunlight and the sound of waves.
Untitled by Julianna
We went to Myrtle Beach for vacation and my wife painted her toenails. Figures. When does she paint her toenails at home? Never. At home she wears the same green sweatshirt every goddamn day and she doesn’t cook. She used to cook. She used to paint her toenails. She used to walk around the apartment in panties. Cute ones. Ones with little bows and lace and whatnot. Now? Nothing. Now I have no idea what my wife’s underwear looks like, except when I see it in a heap on the bathroom floor, bundled up with her sweat socks. Sweat socks and underwear sitting there on the bathroom floor. They sit there for days sometimes. Sweat socks and underwear mocking me while I do my business.
I spent two weeks’ goddamn salary on Myrtle Beach. I coulda been home. It was the playoffs. And what does my wife do? Reads books in a lawnchair and takes pictures of her feet.
That’s me, by the way, out there in the water. No, not that guy. That one. No, to the left of that one. The one with the arm. No, not that one. That one. That one. That’s me. I think it is. Yeah, that’s me. I’m pretty sure. That one.
Sea Glass by Nicole
There are bits of sea glass lined up on his dresser. They are perched in a row over his Boy Scouts of America sash. His window lights up the row of shapes two or three at a time. Sometimes, I can see him walking the shore from my bedroom window. He comes out in the mornings before the beach is crowded and hot. He examines each piece with his hands, feels for smooth edges, and fingers the acceptable pieces into his pockets. I count the pieces as he picks them up and wait for them to show up in the row with the others. I like it best when he throws the sharpest ones back into the ocean. Someday it will be the two of us together reaching our hands up over our heads to toss the pieces into the waves. The water will keep the pieces until they are ready.