Heads bent like penitents
pantlegs and jackets flapping

footsteps sinking
we trudged up the sand dune.

Gust by gust, freezing
winds pounding us.

Behind me, Dad
lifted his wooden leg

with his right hand,
ensuring the prosthesis was secure

in the sand before
taking another step.

He lived to be needed
never to need.

The dune ended, became
a cliff towering above the sea.

We saw the green ocean heave,
spit white spray.

The breakers fell onto
the beach in steady rhythm.

The wind screamed. Dad cried out
grabbed me, hung on my shoulders,

I was all that stood
between him and death.

Olin Dodson (MA Clinical Psychology, Sonoma State University) is the author of “Melissa’s Gift” (Bay Tree, 2012). His poetry has appeared in Trickster Literary Journal. Olin has studied writing with Linda Hasselstrom and Miriam Sagan. He currently teaches creative writing at Mandela International Magnet School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.