Pale-skinned, dark-haired, seven or eight years old,
he stalks through shin-high water, one raised hand
air-slicing—”One – Two – Three”—as if counting out
rules known to stave off death, or snapping commands
to a tight knot of loyal men just up the beach.
Most kids this size lunge chest-first at breakers
and laugh when the crash whips them under and over.
But this thin boy faces off with the smallest surf, stiff
as a coat rack. Draws himself down. Springs straight up
and crashes with both feet flat in his private commotion.
Merrill Oliver Douglas studied in the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College, and she earned an MA in English from Binghamton University in 1982. Her most recent publications are in A Narrow Fellow, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Barrow Street and San Pedro River Review. She lives near Binghamton, N.Y., where she runs a freelance writing business.