It comes in waves.
Grief washing, pulling.

Surfing in California
the waters beat on the shore.
Tourist boats spot blue whales
on the horizon and you and I
are new to riding this wave
I paddle my board into the water,
cling to it as the sun bears down,
wind on my wet skin.
Hair whipping and sticking to my face.

Surfboards don’t have steering wheels and
I don’t know how to stand
in the distance where the whales are.
The wave comes crashing
large above me.
I’m supposed to dig in and ride 
until it takes me
to the solid ground.
I look over –

You always liked a little risk but I –
I don’t know why I’m out here
I don’t know how I’ve come this far.
The arguments are more confusing now
we take to the water to forget
these staunch differences and
the ocean sweeps my ring away
when I’m not looking
and the same wave comes.

There is nothing to do
but hold my breath till impact.

Inuit parents
tell their children of Qalupalik,
a monster in the sea
that will grab
disobedient offspring
and pull them to the depths.
It keeps the parents from having to yell;
it keeps the children from getting too close
to the water’s edge.