I. She sits on a sidewalk in Miami A. pulling her legs to her chest 1. her forehead balances on her tan kneecaps a) her feet inch towards the edge of the street B. she wears a pale-pink slip dress 1. the same shade of the starfish she found on the beach a week earlier a) brought it home b) left it on the porch to dry 2. she stares at a clear plastic cup filled with fresh lemonade a) and her white sandals (1) while couples hold hands (2) dressed in daisy duke’s and thin blouses (3) walk around her II. She waits for a taxi A. she might not be waiting at all 1. a woman who moves to the coast for her husband 2. never moves to the coast only to watch him become a singer of a jazz band at holiday inn B. a woman moves to the coast to be one with the ocean 1. and whale songs a) so she helped pack a car (1) grapefruits (2) hibiscus, firespike, and marigold seeds to grow gardens in the window flower boxes (3) patchwork quilts (4) heirloom lace (5) telescopes and star maps C. she was never the kind to wait for something 1. when she could do it herself 2. when she could save the cash a) for guitar strings, amber hair clips, Neil Young cd’s, tube socks, polka dot dresses, shirley temples, bicycle tires, cigarettes, and ascots (1) to tie around the stray dog’s neck she brought home one winter (2) the band named her Polly III. She grows old A. moves out of Miami with dried starfish, broken conch shells, and vials of sand B. sings hymns in church louder than anyone 1. louder than ever before 2. the band must have taught her a) to sing (1) when she missed home b) to stretch her hands to heaven c) or to God (1) when she felt like kissing a musician’s goatee (2) or pruning flower beds from an open window IV. I come back to the picture A. often 1. when I want to hear her voice 2. or see how smoothly the sun used to hit her shoulders 3. or taste salty wind on the roof of my mouth B. she tells me 1. you're the granddaughter of a jazz man C. if she wrapped me up and brought me to the doorstep of her old Miami home 1. the band would have taken me in a) given me a name b) taught me how to sing (1) so well, and so full of soul that ocean waves would beckon me with a beautiful song (2) and swallow me whole
Grace Warren-Page is a student in the creative writing program at South Carolina Governor's School for Arts and Humanities.