Jacqueline Hincapie

The women stand toe to shoreline,

shielding their faces

with their sun-browned arms, waiting

for the green spark, the signal

to bend, their sagging breasts

skimming the surface

of the creeping tide.

They send off their tiny paper boats

carrying candles as the tide goes out,

beacons for lost children,

those who went away and forgot the words

their mothers sang at night.

From the shore, the women watch

as each wave causes the ocean

to flicker off and on again,

they sigh deep like coming gales

to push the folder paper messages

a little further, whisper,

            Come back.