Marc Swan is a retired vocational rehabilitation counselor. Poems recently published in Queen’s Quarterly, Crannóg, Ropes, The Broadkill Review, among others. today can take your breath away, his fourth collection, was published in 2018 by Sheila-Na-Gig Editions. He lives with his wife Dd in coastal Maine.
Shaking the radiation blues
As the intense coastal light
dims into dusk, I walk the quiet
shore, desolate except for a family
of four, recent arrivals in Unit 3. We
are in Unit one for two more weeks
then back to the states and a different
routine. I scan from cliff side to beach,
sea glass and colorful stones catch my eye.
I reach low, pocket one, and walk ahead.
My wife walks the other way, practicing.
When the family comes up to me they say
bonjour. I say “hello.” The children are curious.
One carries a bucket of water and sand in both
hands. I tell them of sea glass, hold a piece
out to them. They smile and say something
in French. I smile and walk along. A missed
opportunity I suddenly realize. Why didn’t I
give the boy a piece to drop in his red bucket—
too many thoughts of those radiant beams
striking shards of shattered glass.