copeland
Afterlife
by Beth Copeland

A little girl’s gold shoes
fill with wind-blown sand

left behind as the ocean
leaves at tide’s edge—lightning

whelks, scallops, angel
wings—to remind me that my body

will be filled with light as I wade
barefoot into waves.

SOURCE: An earlier (and longer) version was published in Of Sun and Sand by Kind of a Hurricane Press in 2013.

PHOTO: Little Girl’s Shoes, Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina (photo by Beth Copeland).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: On a visit to Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina, I was looked for shells and found some abandoned shoes a little girl had left in the sand. I wondered about the child the shoes belonged to. Why did she leave them? Was she sad that she’d lost her pretty gold shoes? I took a photograph of the shoes and later wrote the poem.

beth copeland

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beth Copeland’s second book Transcendental Telemarketer (BlazeVOX books, 2012) received the runner up award in the North Carolina Poetry Council’s 2013 Oscar Arnold Young Award for best poetry book by a North Carolina writer. Her first book Traveling through Glass received the 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award. Her poems have been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, including The Atlanta Review, New Millennium Writings, The North American Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Poet’s Market, Rattle, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Tar River Poetry, and The Wide Shore: A Journal of Global Women’s Poetry. She has been profiled as poet of the week on the PBS NewsHour web site. Copeland is an assistant professor of English at Methodist University in Fayetteville. She lives in a log cabin with her husband in North Carolina.