The Atlantic Ocean
by Anuja Ghimire

I’ve learned to stand for 18 hours
Calves know, heels adjust
I’ve folded T-shirts’ arms into embraces
Creased bellies to chests
Stacked up my cotton half-bodies for display

Inside the boardwalk beach store,
my breath stains the plastic cages
I’ve cleaned for hermit crabs

I’ve even begun to hum
Jewel and Bob Marley
to the rhythm of the price gun

But my toes only remember
sand sinking
waves crashing
seagulls calling
and the moon waiting for me
with my first ocean

IMAGE: Ocean City, Maryland, postcard.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am working on a series of poems about my journey to America and leaving “mother” (my mother and motherland) behind. This poem was born in this nostalgia. While I worked at the front desk in college, my first real job was as a sales girl at a boardwalk store in Ocean City, Maryland, where many kids from my country spend their summers raising tuition money. Nepal is a landlocked country. The Atlantic Ocean was my first meeting with the ocean. This poem is about working for hours while missing the beauty that was teasing me from a stone’s throw.

anuja

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anuja Ghimire is a native of Kathmandu, Nepal, where she started writing at the age of five. She was published by the age of 16. Anuja came to the U.S. as a college student. Her first work was published in 2008. That year, she was a featured poet at Austin International Poetry Festival. She has published more than 60 works of poetry, flash fiction, and essay in the U.S., Nepal, and Canada. Her poem “Six,” published in Right Hand Pointing, was nominated for Pushcart in 2015. She won a two-liner contest for Dying Dahlia Review in March 2017. In April 2017, she was a featured poet at No Extra Word, celebrating National Poetry Month. She lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and two daughters, and works in the e-learning industry.