Our children nod in the back seats mouthing the word ocean.

Meaningless to them, except for the promise of newness.


Our car winds over the ragged peninsulas, the glacial tracks, 

land etched from some ancient orogeny. Moss draped pines


out one window, rocky inlets out the other. Along the way 

our phones lose all signal. We’ve left that behind now. 


The endless news cycles, the dailiness of life, the labyrinths 

of our own making. We’ve escaped for now, like Icarus,


yet knowing too soon we will have to return back 

to our daily blazing toward the sun.  Here though,


the cabin will be quiet with dewy nights cloaked in clouds 

and the day’s sun burning off the morning fog.


With child eyes we’ll seek riches in tide pools. Our children 

will begin to know the word ocean—water upon the ankles


then gone, salt parching the tongue, mysteries scurrying in the wake. 

Our ears will prick to some distant splash—a body falling to water— 


and quietly we’ll realize, it is not us, this time, 

as we turn back to the rush of water over our children’s feet. 


Benjamin Mueller lives and teaches in Ithaca, New York. His poems have appeared in Washington Square Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Negative Capability, Two Hawks Quarterly, 42 Opus, and Euphony.