Week on Hatteras

by Mary Warner

We gather each summer in this place,
these sea oats, this warm sand, this long horizon of water
and sky, this carnage from last autumn’s storm —
yet more dune missing, still another deck askew.
We sisters, our husbands, our sons, now
their lovers — we’ve slept in houses washed away.
Our years hang suspended from this fragile space, these
layered weeks.  We walk the beach, count the ghost crabs,
name the stars, tell our stories.  Who
will we be when we’re here again?
I waken early our final morning, stirred
by a sorrow old as stone, and
give my love to the lively air, the pelicans
soaring, the sunlight white on surging seas.