Traci O’Dea

The Body

The waves ignored the body, but it fought
to shore against the tides that didn’t know
that they were what was keeping it from land.

She stopped and watched it struggle, saw it caught
inside the curl and swirl, the night-time show
the sea puts on each evening with the sand.

All things wash up eventually, she thought
and chose to take the road home, even though
it passed the cemetery. Streetlights fanned

colossal palm fronds at her feet that sought
the farthest distance from the ebb and flow.
And from her hair, her fingers pulled a strand

of sea moss—flossy, taut—like ones that grow
on seaside boulders, make them buffalo.

Traci O’Dea lives in the British Virgin Islands where she is a writer and book editor. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Measure, Unsplendid, and others. She also volunteers for Smartish Pace.


Read Lee Upton’s marginalia on this poem.