Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely

Reading Signs


Shadows of the dunes

have not yet crept

across the upper beach

but no one's here.

A neon pail, tiny crabs

still scrabbling in its well,

leans inside a furrow

in the sand.


I see the way it went:

At noon the parents walked

and laughed too far,

their fingers greedy

in the children's hair.

The sky flared

and the breeze, salt-

pungent, blew onshore,

pushing mounds of spume

against their feet.

Moaning the cold,

they bullied out

to ride the waves

that excited the skin

on their bellies and thighs.

The children rolled

in the undertow's

pleasurable pull.


By two, the tide's retreat

had left a glimmering

of jellyfish. Tomato sandwiches

had barely served,

the drinks were warm,

the chocolate compromised

by grit. The parents' need

to touch their children's skin,

to hold them small

inside their colored towels,

was satisfied.


By three the sky had widened

until blue was agony,

the wind's insistence

a slender knife.

Something wild hung coiled

inside the children's shouts.

The parents had begun

to stalk the end

of afternoon.


At four the parents

closed their faces up

and left. The children

understood they wouldn't

find them anymore,

condensed themselves,

forgot what shapes they'd been

and disappeared

inside the afternoon. 

The wife of a Vietnam War veteran, Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely says she's getting the hang of retirement after twenty gratifying/distressing years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and happy adventures along earlier career paths. Among other wonderfully small-town volunteer activities, she chairs the Guilford Poets Guild and serves as its representative to the Connecticut Poetry Society.



Current Issue
Contributors' Notes

Email this poem Printer friendly page

A CLOSER LOOK: Jean Nordhaus

Peggy Aylsworth

Bruce Bennett

Brad Bisio

Judith Bowles

Terri Brown-Davidson

Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Gayle Reed Carroll

Grace Cavalieri

Will Cordeiro

Barbara Crooker

Philip Dacey

Dante Di Stefano

Margot Farrington

Roger Fogelman

Taylor Graham

Will Greenway

Maryanne Hannan on Diane Lockward

Audrey Henderson

Laura Eleanor Holloway

Siham Karami

Peter Kline

Judy Kronenfeld

Michael Lauchlan

Lyn Lifshin

Laura Manuelidis

Judith McCombs

Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely

Joe Mills

Yvette Neisser Moreno and Patricia Bejarano Fisher

David Derbin Nolta

Andrew H. Oerke

Dean Olson

Laura Orem on Linda Pastan

Laura Orem on Terence Winch

Scott Owens

William Page

Beth Paulson

Eleanor Paynter

Joanna Pearson

Simon Perchik

R.D. Parker

Oliver Rice

W.M. Rivera

Michael Salcman

Mike Smetzer

Matthew Buckley Smith

Stephen Spencer

Rob Spiegel

Jack Stewart

Mark Thalman

Kathi Wolfe

Patrick Woodcock

Katherine E. Young















Last Updated: Feb 22, 2020 - 12:30:13 PM

Copyright 2005 - 2020 Cook Communication.