Past bedtime, I tell my sons to put on their shoes,
and we walk to the dark beach in search of sea turtles.
The special red flashlight casts an eerie orb
on the white sand.

We do not find any turtles, a nest full of eggs,
or even a set of tracks. A ghost crab is all we catch
under the crimson beam.

But it doesn’t matter. I only want to give them this
memory – warm hug of wind, dry dustings
of sand thrown against their backs, night
song of blackened waves, the smell of mud and sea.

From across the sound comes a distant flash — 
heat lighting. They both gasp, mouths round
as the letter O, sleepy eyes thrilled wide with wonder.