Poetry,  Published Submissions

Sea as Boy, by Claire Beeli

Towels become skins, 
                            cell wall barriers 
             between backs and sand: 


lazy, golden, 
                           heated bodies roll and flux, 
              as tides hesitate. 


like a nervous boy 
                            approaching the towel-skinned girls, 
               in starts and stops— 


the sun is a 
                            yellow stoplight— 
                   stop or go— 


and finally the fish 
                             encourage him enough to get moving, 
              he glides forward 


and pulls back last-second, 
                   but he gathers and goes again 
              and finally taps her towel’s corner 


but she doesn’t notice, that first time 
                             so he gathers, goes and 
              she beams 


the shocked body has been touched already 
                            and so she runs heedless 
                to him, into him


and it is frigid but it is bracing 
                            and salt enters a thousand cuts 
              cleaning and preserving 


and the waves 
                           break gladly 
             on the shore. 

– Claire Beeli

Claire Beeli is an emerging writer from Long Beach, California. Her work is published or is forthcoming in Block Party Lit, Polyphony Lit, and The Apprentice Writer, among others. She is her city’s 2023-2024 Youth Poet Laureate. Her writing has been recognized by the Scholastic Foundation, Columbia College Chicago, Sister Cities International, and others.