Paradise by Amy Biddle

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Paradise by Amy Biddle
Illustrated by Sue Babcock
she sits in the solitude of the sandy beach
the waves kiss her toes and scamper out of reach
the seagull’s screams are suffocated
by the scratching of salt water and sand
by the surging sounds of the sea as it consumes the land
soon she falls silent, stops motionless 
she sits and sighs in the smells of the sea

suddenly, she is everything
she is the squawking seagull and the swaying trees 
she is the blistering sun and the shining seas
she is paradise

and then they come
they come carrying buckets and rakes
umbrellas and stakes
cookies and cakes
whatever it is that Wal-Mart makes
sun chars their china doll skin
raw, red lines on fat white bodies
scraps of cloth on big boobed barbies
stupidity of blue-footed boobies

little boys stop and gawk
till mothers make them turn and walk
their sisters try to come and play
till they are roughly pulled away
a picture is snapped
from behind
from the side
but nobody dares to stop and say ‘hi’

suddenly, she is nothing
she is the scenery, a dark silhouette on a postcard 
she is a souvenir, something to discard
she is nothing more than a premeditated palm tree in paradise

the sea churns viciously with coming weather
like the familiar motions of her drunken father
its foaming mouth spits at the shiny white faces
but they are ignorant to its grumbling advances
only the little girl
and the lifeguard on the pedestal
their dark skin shining in the sun
know the secrets hidden underneath the breaking waves

AUTHOR BIO: Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Amy now spends half of her life at sea and the other half wherever the hell she pleases. An avid traveler and dangerous daydreamer, she is most at home when surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains or the great blue sea. Her debut novel, The Atheist’s Prayer, is a dark comedy about a fairy-worshiping suicide cult.