Dog at the Beach

by Benjamin Shaw


There is whispering at the top of the hill
And then a sigh,
And the grass becomes still like our shape
Slapped erect against the sky,
A single motion of the brush,
The artist’s hand steady as her eyes
While my eyes wander through her halls,
Each wall with a painting I have never seen before…And I think of lifting stones in my backyard,
Searching for insects, salamanders and snakes,
Sucking on hard candy, mother’s caramels,
Father’s mints and sister’s Jolly Ranchers.
I recall exploring beneath my roof,
Pacing, crawling on my hands and knees,
Underneath all of the couches and chairs,
Inside all of the closets and cabinets;
And one time, in the room with the bookcase,
I pulled out a volume that possessed
A certain poem about the ocean,
Written solely for me.
And I am reminded of the little footprints in the sand,
Once cold feet removed for braver appendages.
And each white topped wave rolling to the beach
Meets the cheek, sometimes the mouth,
Cleansing the palate and dehydrating the body,

Readying oneself for novelties such as soda
And boardwalk fries,
Vinegar on taste buds
While our brand new puppy
Ran free along the shore.In time, though, blades of grass begin to dance again
As quiet conversations return to the top of the hill.
And the artist wants to travel,
She tells me that she’s ready.
I tell her, I’m not sure.
But my words are worthless as the
Restless paint slides down the slope
Somehow familiarly
While palms grow sweaty so that hands are dropped,
Hair concealing faces as the sun goes down.
This museum has been walked through and through
And all of the paintings here I have seen already.
It is like when I pace about my old backyard
Where weeds have taken over,
Slimy things found beneath the stones.
I am reminded that the inside of the house has changed also,
The bookcase is gone and I cannot remember
The name of that poem about the ocean.
It’s no longer mine,
It’s just detritus in the deep sea current.
When I go to the beach the sand and wetness irritate my feet,
And I will spend most of my time with a hat on,

Fishing, not catching anything of note…
Eventually the paint nears the bottom of the hill
And drips,
Reminiscent of
An old dog stretching.


Author Biography: 
Benjamin Shaw is a junior in high school. At college, he hopes to study Russian Literature. His favorite novels are The Brothers Karamazov and Moby Dick. His favorite poets are Wallace Stevens, e.e. cummings and Dante Alighieri. Benjamin enjoys playing lacrosse and basketball, watching films, and writing.