That last day they fled to the beach

This did not feel like goodbye

Though she had watched him carefully

Wrap his good ochre-colored shoes in newsprint,

Place them in a borrowed valise.

There was no room for her picture.

Grampa cried, tears jeweling

From his old reddened eyes which had seen everything

Except this day.

Sixty, seventy, eighty miles an hour they sped

Along that gravelled road to the beach

The dated letter between them like a nasty thief,

Promise to a country lost somewhere between

The stock market and world wars.

Her camera clicked out segments of time,

Captured the heat of that last day in May

As hostile little waves slapped the mean shore

And the steady drone of insects filled saffron air.

They had no crumbs for hungry birds that hovered near

And the unforgiving sun moved too quickly toward the


There were hugs and promises for everyone before

She walked out on the wide muskeg

Another fragment of this planet, empty, alone

Lifting her face to watch

His jet circle between mountains

Shrinking in space

Now a small silver coin

In her blue window of heaven.

"Silver Coin" © 1984 Connie Tonsgard