Beach Path

Robert Cording
| poetry


It’s still there. So are my dead parents

in their bathing suits and white terrycloth robes,

trundling their beach bags, chairs, and umbrellas.

The path connects woods to river, connects

the shadowy light shouldering through

swamp maples to the river’s bright, blinding light

where the path opens on a stretch of beach.

The river is there of course as well,

first, in its cadence against the banks

where old trees have given way to erosion,

and then in the honeyed color of clear water

over sand. Around the bend, the voices of children

still discovering turtles and dragonflies.


The water distills the late afternoon light

and the amber current keeps moving

late summer’s first yellow leaves downriver.

In their chairs my parents watch the day slide by.

Sandpipers in flocks of five and six veer in

towards the beach, then away, and cliff swallows

meet their doubles in the river’s mirroring surface.

When my parents gather up their things,

and leave once again on the beach path,

I stay by the river in the prolonged summer light,

listening to their voices fade into a veery’s

ethereal cascade of downward spiraling notes

among the already darkened swamp maples.

Robert Cording is professor emeritus at College of the Holy Cross. He has published eight collections of poems, the most recent of which is Only So Far (CavanKerry Press, 2015). New work is out or forthcoming in The Georgia Review, New Ohio Review, The Hudson Review, Image, and The Common.

Marian Apparition
Soleil & Sons