Poetry / September 2015 (Issue 29)


by Jasmine Nikki Paredes

A man approaches our picnic table shortly after we arrive at the island. He asks if we want to see the giant clams. I had never seen a giant clam alive and up close before, but he insists they can be as heavy as sea turtles. I try to remember the last time I weighed that much, or little. I was probably ten. My lover suggests we go up a small hill instead to see the entire stretch of the beach. From the hilltop we see neon flags flap and a child floating, face down, wearing an orange life vest. His mother is nearby. The giant clam man paddles his small boat towards the darker gradient of the sea. A mother, a father and two kids cling to the bamboo outriggers. We watch them float away. The man had said he feeds the clams daily. We descend the hill, unconvinced. In the 2 hour boat ride to the island, we struggled to read our books, its pages lashed by seawater separated from wave. Now our backs lie flat on sand. The bound pages dry in the heat. Another family floats off with the clam man. We arrive at the other end of the beach, by the rocks, where there are no people. The beach’s edge is a grand theatre with blue carpets trailing a large blue curtain. There are birds and small fish, there are varying textures of sand, from minute shells to briny talcum. We sit quietly within the shadows of a jagged rock. I gather sand and begin to shape first the shell, then flippers, head and tail.
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