Patricia Wallace Jones

On the Beach at Piriápolis

by Catherine Chandler

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.
And so, like every summer, I must fake
indifference to the fast-encroaching sea.
We’re laughing, smiling, buoyant in the swell
of Río 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.

Catherine Chandler was born in New York City and raised in Pennsylvania. She has an M.A. from McGill University, where she teaches Spanish in the Department of Translation Studies. Her poems and translations have been widely published in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.