Making A Run For It
By: Margaux Novak
There’s something about running towards the sea at night. Low tide, the waves
still far off.
sand cold on my bare feet, the southern air still summer-warm, heels deep against the saw grass dunes I pray against
sand-spurs, listening for the dark waves I can’t make out.
Remember learning as a child, it’s dangerous to swim alone—
Night is when the ocean becomes most alive, all-consuming
When moonlight skims the surface and the jellyfish glow
I recall standing on Johnny Mercer Pier
shining flashlights down into the high-tide
Gasping at how big the sharks were, right where I had sunbathed
On my striped towel a few hours earlier in the heat of the day.
Now here I am splashing my hot head into a cresting wave
Riding low, look at the luminescence my presence causes here, a disruption
anticipation fills my lungs and I know
I’ve been away from home too long.
I duck into a larger wave, wade out past the sandbar
underwater I hear our next door neighbor
scolding me, your mother needs you more.
Needs more checking-in on, pulse taking,
She shouldn’t be alone this way.
But I am afraid
here will suck me in, pull me back
dredge up all I’ve pushed past.
I shouldn’t be alone this way.
Margaux Novak has appeared recently in Little Patuxent Review, The Worcester Review, Sanctuary: Audubon Society Magazine, Connecticut River Review, River River, Wraparound South, Boston Poetry Magazine, Ink Seed, and Satul. She is a recipient of the Guy Owen Award, Dartmouth College's Frost Place Poetry Award, and was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize for her poem "Sea Witch," which appeared in Little Patuxent Review. Novak earned her Master's in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. She was raised in coastal North Carolina.