Crescent Bay
by Diana Decker

The world tells me that I will be safe with you
so I let myself be lifted to your shoulders
and we walk out to sea.

First the warm, hissing foam
then the knee-waves, where my terror begins
I try to tell you
my breath-holding grip tries to tell you
but you laugh and turn
and slam your shoulder into the salty wall.

I cannot know how many times you’ve tried to die
but this feels like one of them
and I wonder:
Why are you taking me with you?
I want to go—I do
but first, there is my life

How could you forget?

Not long afterwards you found
a dark ocean of stars to take you
above the dry-wind desert
and I have no way to tell you
that I grew and taught myself to dive
deep beneath the breakers
and push up into the sun and sharp air
gasping high on the other side.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me posing, trying to be a bathing beauty, but preoccupied with events to come.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My Gamma had a beach house on Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach, California, where her five sons and their families would come for beach time and to create family memories. This is mine at four years of age, about my father, who was both fearless and filled with fear. He took his own life shortly afterward.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Diana Decker is a poet whose work has appeared in Silver Birch Press, Poppy Road Review, Verdad Journal of Literature and Art, The Avocet, Mothers Always Write, KY Story’s anthology Getting Old, and deLuge. Diana writes, sings, and counts the birds on the small farm in Western New York that she shares with her husband.