Linda Benninghoff


She sits under the beach umbrella
Only able to dip her feet in
Because the osteoporosis
Has broken the vertebrae
In her back
And made it impossible
To swim.

I could never lie to her.
Coming into shore
After the sea has rendered
Me and everything else
Blue, I tell her how tired I am
How the years of smoking are
Making my lungs
Collapse like balloons
After an hour’s swim.

My mother does not know
What to do about
My young life disappearing.

Instead we seem to be growing old
Together, edging more
And more into the silence
Of the sea, the long rolling
Waves, the sigh of high
Tide ever-returning.

Linda Benninghoff has published two chapbooks of poetry, Departures and The Street Where I Was a Child. She has translated The Seafarer from Anglo-Saxon; the translation appears at here under Dialogue of Nations. She won the Poetry Superhighway contest and was shortlisted in the Cinnamon Press Poetry book contest.