Silhouettes of parents with child against sea decline
Be Brave. Big Wave.
by Tricia Knoll

We said these words
to the wide-open low tide
under May’s yellow sun.

Your father held your left hand.
I had your right. Three of us wading
with cold toes.

The curve of the wave
ached to arch
into that second of time,
one beat of a baby’s eyelash.

You winked your blue eyes
above the white of a milk-tooth smile.

At the turning reach of a minus tide,
scalloped cross hatches
thinned and thrived
to sink in sand.
So simple
it seemed

that spring day
we three held hands
and went to sea
with our lives.

SOURCE: “Be Brave. Big Wave.” first appeared in the author’s collection Ocean’s Laughter.

PHOTO: “Parents and child by the sea” by Pavel Losevsky, used by permission.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet who owned a home on the Oregon coast for 25 years. She walked and ran with dogs thousands of miles on the beach. Her book about these years, Ocean’s Laughter, combines lyric and eco-poetry to look at change over time in the small town of Manzanita, Oregon. The title comes from a line in Pablo Neruda’s The Book of Questions: Do you not also sense danger in the sea’s laughter? Visit the author at

AUTHOR PHOTO: The author on the beach in Manzanita, Oregon, with her dog.