Malindi Beach

Malindi Beach
by Aaron Brown

In low tide, you can walk the cove—
it comes to shoulder height 

and at high tide, you have to row
your way to the outcrop of rock 

where Indian Ocean crabs
try their best to stay dry, 

moving from sand to boulder
as the waves rise up 

into the million crags of home.
I came here once with my brother. 

We beached our boat and floated
in nearby shallows, watching 

the ephemeral fish as the hours went away
with the waves. Returning to rock, 

we found our boat gone with the tide.
In the distance, rising and falling,

its blue plastic hull burst surface.
My brother tried to swim the current—

water pushing back his every stroke,
but there was nothing to be done 

except watch the boat get carried away,
further and further, beyond our little 

rock island. My brother
slowed in the current, turning back. 

I waited to ask why he couldn’t outswim
the current, why he’d left the boat 

basking on the bar—
and as he took in each breath,

his body heaving wave-like,
the crabs appeared from the crags

of the hollowed stone
as my brother returned, our figures huddled 

along the shore, waiting
for the tide to subside. §


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Aaron Brown was born in Texas and raised in Chad. He now lives with his wife, Melinda, in Kansas, where he is an Assistant Professor of Writing & Editing at Sterling College. He has been anthologized in Best New African Poets and has received Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. Learn more at: aaronbrownwriter.com