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Reef dance

The reef is up!
Out they run,
top speed,
with toast crumbs
to feed the fish.
They hunt the coral ledge,
pole and bucket ready,
nets poised for a quick strike
at swift prey.
They seek crabs hiding under rocks,
find seaweed of richest green,
catch fish
and give them names.

They'll carefully unhook
Fred or Bill,
release it into the pail,
to swim around and round
the small round pool
they fill with sand and shells,
some seaweed or a hermit crab
to make that small world
feel familiar.
Later, they will turn the bucket
carefully on its side
and let the fish swim free.
Otherwise, they know, it will die.

They don't see,
out on the reef,
how they dance with the waves,
in time with the tides,
the ebb and flow of summers past,
and all their tomorrows.
Only I see them so,
framed in my mother's lens
as I watch, camera ready,
for the perfect shot
to capture not just the line,
but the pulse they dance.

I know, as I snap the shutter,
I cannot hold them long.
I have caught, not them
but the moment we share.

I give them names,
but I must let them go
out from the round lens,
my mother's lens,
and its sun-warmed sky.

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 © 2005, Lenore Horowitz