I sit down and sink in,
letting the sun singe my skin while I bury sand deep beneath my nail beds.
This is where I feel most connected to you,
your heartbeat forever in time with the tide
and your voice echoed in the wind’s hush, hush, hush.
You are the gulls, the gulf, and the grouper.
You are the moon, the manatees, and the mother sea.
The ocean is the only place I can feel your heart anymore
so I wrap myself in your Sanibel smile and tide pool tenacity.
The water is rising and I must go
but I will climb the highest mountains just to see you in the sea.
I will never stop looking to you and
I will count the sun-kissed freckles on my shoulders the way we counted “I love you“s.
Breathing in your salted perfume,
I count another.
I love you always.