|Beach at Piriápolis, Uruguay|
He lifts me from the wheelchair to the water,
my arms entwined around his neck. A wave
breaks on us, aged father, aging daughter.
He is too caballero, much too brave
to show the strain, the effort it must take;
but the charade is obvious to me.
Like every summer, then, I smile and fake
indifference to the fast-encroaching sea.
We're laughing, floating, buoyant in the swell
of Rio de la Plata's tidal flow;
like other tossed things—seaweed, sand and shell—
we hold our own against the undertow.
And when at last the shore recedes from view,
the ballast of our hearts will bear us true.
— Piriápolis, Uruguay, January 2004
© Catherine Chandler. First published in 14 by 14.