It was the summer sharks threatened to ruin our vacation, 
when blood was more than a metaphor,
and we did everything we could to survive.
We made the kids stay close to the shore—
their feet touching the sand— and even that was
too far, made our hearts beat fast and loud.
On the ride home, I let the seatbelt push
into the soft of my neck and bind one breast because
I’d survived this summer – which was a miracle, though
it shouldn’t be – because I was alive – which was a privilege-
though it shouldn’t be, and I know:

When I die, I want to be old, with a garden full
of collards and herbs, I want my palms to smell
of basil when I wash my wrinkled face,
to pin a flower from the yard in my hair,
my grey, grey hair, to eat a soft meal of potatoes in broth—
something easy on the stomach— to blow steam
from a cup of tea full of lavender and sweet honey,
to lay my head down and know it might happen,
to know I might be next, to go to sleep full and still and ready
and not afraid.

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