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I can’t imagine
the number of times
I’ve been there

visiting Florida,
Christmas with my parents
a plastic tree
with sand dollars
and red


eating Christmas dinner
listening to Johnny Mathis

and after the Irish coffee,
father with his brandy snifter
in hand
mother and the other
putting away the dishes

the carolers would come,
walking in front of our home

singing “We wish you a
merry Christmas”
over and over again

we would walk outside
and the cool breeze
almost felt like Christmas
after the hot
humid days

and we would stand on our driveway
smile and nod

you could see down the road
all the candles in
paper bags
lining the street

and for a few lights
the bag



and we would take
boat rides
off the coast
my parents and their friends
to a tiny island

dad drinking beer
sometimes steering the boat
the women sitting together in the shade
worrying about their hair

i would sit at the front
sunglasses, swimsuit and sunburn
feeling the wind
slapping me
                        in the face

and turning my head away from the boat
into the wind
away from them

to face it again

docking at a shoreline
everyone jumping out
little bags in their hands

the women go looking for shells
the men go barbecue

after an hour or two
the sandwiches, potato chips eaten
the soda and beer almost

we turn around
and head back

we have conquered


and I remember
the coquinas

the little shells
you could find them alive
on the beaches north of the pier in

going to the beach
I would look for a spot
to find them

they were all my own

they burrowed their way into the
to avoid the light
worming their way away from me

I unearthed a group of coquinas once,
fascinated with their color of
their shells, the way
they moved

before they could hide

I collected them
in a jar,
took them home with me

what did you teach me
what have you taught me to do
is this it
is this what it has become
is this what has become of me
of you        of us

and I took them home

I added salt water and sand
but I couldn’t feed them
I realized soon that they
would die

so I let them

Copyright Janet Kuypers.
All rights reserved. No material
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the book Seeing Things Differently the book Distinguished Writings the cc&d v170.5 issue release of Kuypers' writings in the 2006 book  Distinguished Writings the book Oeuvre the book Hope Chest In The Attic the book Moving Performances
the CD Moving Performances the CD Manic Depressive or Something Chaotic Radio Week #01 oh. the audio CD the CD set Live at the Cafe (3 CD set) The Chaotic Collection 5 Disc CD