Imagine our surprise when she washed up on the beach
between us, her raucous breathing impossible to ignore,
hair laced with kelp and broken shells. From her loosening
fists spilled sand crabs, scuttling on nerve and instinct into sudden
wet secrets. Her pulse rapped in her neck so hard even
the gulls could see. The eyes were salt-sewn, but the head
swiveled back and forth, offering us one ear and then the other.
To save her seemed unavoidable, though I sat a long while,
glass of wine in hand, wishing I could take a last sip without
seeming gauche or cruel. Wishing I could pry wide
those sealed lids and dance the sad jangle of my skeleton
across the sand, could say, Look hard at what you think you know.
Instead, I stood and shook the blanket clean, folded it, carefully
packed away the ruined afternoon to make a clean space to be rescued in.
Wave-hidden, sea anemones opened and closed their dumb mouths.
A biplane droned overhead, dragging its message across a changed sky.
A Graphic Lament for Innocence: Child Sexual Abuse and the World of Comics