We Burn

by Heather Gustine

We burn off
late May on the coasts of Maine.
In polka dot swimsuits, eyelet ruffle trim,
my sister and I suck the ends of our hair
for salt water, running out to capture
clumps of ocean
in neon buckets.
We unwrap the seaweed from our ankles
and drape it like chiffon
across our shoulders,
crouching for kernels of shells and crab legs.
We bury Dad
in his sunburned raccoon stripes
under our castle’s crooked towers,
flicking up beach fat with driftwood.
Then we flap our arms,
scream and lunge at the waves, scared
they will scoop him from under us.

Heather Gustine is a recent graduate of Chatham University’s MFA in creative writing program. Her work has appeared in journals such as Permafrost, shadyside review, The Red Clay Review, and Nerve Cowboy. She resides in Pittsburgh, PA.

Back to Issue Eight: Summer 2010