Heart of the Ocean
by Martina R. Gallegos

I’d seen chicken footprints before
as I did chores around the house.
I’d especially seen them on the
kitchen floor, minutes after cleaning!
When I went to the beach for the first time,
I figured I’d see chickens
There were so many chicken footprints
I couldn’t believe my eyes!
Then I learned they were seagull prints.
Didn’t know nor had seen a seagull before.
I began to cover the prints with my own
till I saw something quite different,
a heart-shaped piece of green glass.
I decided I’d continue my path to look
for more “hearts.” I loved my treasure.
I found a round-looking shell.
“Sand dollar,” somebody said.
I wonder if I could spend it.
Later I learned it was just a shell.
My walk on the shore led me to
another heart, a stone this time.
I now had two hearts the ocean
had graciously gifted me.
I knew I’d come back to this place.
I became an avid ocean heart collector.
Now I collect all kinds of rocks and stones
from local beaches and other places.
I also love watching the waves
and everything ocean water has to offer.
I love walking on the beach and looking
at the horizon. It’s quite soothing.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The picture is one of the few times I went to the beach after a stroke. I’m still having sensory issues; that’s why I can’t walk barefoot like I used to like and would like to do. My brother Crisanto Gallegos de Robles took the picture April 2016, at Harbor State Beach in Ventura, California.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I wrote the poem because I still remember going to, or seeing a beach for the first time when I was almost fifteen. It was quite an experience!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martina R. Gallegos came from Mexico and attended Pasadena High school, Oxnard College, CSUN. She got a Master’s from Grand Canyon University after a big stroke. Her poems have appeared in Hometown Pasadena, Basta!, Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology 2015, and Silver Birch Press.