Immersion poem excerpt by chamrickwriter with image of Gulf of Mexico beach


Immersion poem excerpt by Catherine Hamrick with image of coquina shells

I never toe-squished from a rocky shore

To wade into a duck-and-water cover

That would salvage my muddy, sidestepping soul.

The Mississippi sun’s baptismal fire

Plunged me into turquoise-tiled bliss

While polka dots snowed my slick lime Speedo—

A state of grace fogging my goggles.

This meditation ran long and lean,

Paced by thirty-two concrete-grazed flip turns

And steadily churned whip kicks—

Thoughts slow-motioned in cloudy sounds,

And the pool estuaried

Into my paintbox season

Of the Gulf of Mexico

Ruching Veronese green

Under cerulean skies

Stroked sea-salt clean;

Waves pulled back an instant

Then rushed, their edges like linen cambric,

Muffle-roaring and washing over

A village of small dome houses

Built after my mother showed me

How to dig in my foot

And hold it there—not to pull out—

Until my hands pat-patted

A sand house that God did not understand;

It was was, after all, far more delightful

Than something built on a rock.

I followed the earthbound flight

Of coquina butterflies

Scooped and tossed with the swipe 

Of each wave,

Their tinier-than-penny shells

Rippling rainbows, sunsets, and indigo depths—

A bucketful of wonders

Finer than my fingerprints;

In a thousand footfalls

Patterning the dry white beach,

I heard the squeaks of emerald summers

On Santa Rosa Island—

Until a sudden breath pop-up

Filled with the chorine squeals

Of children water-winging in the shallows—

And I rubbed my goggles clear.


  1. Sharron Lehman

    I loved this so much! I feel like something has happened to your poetry lately – it’s as if you’ve shed a skin or something, it’s just as deep but somehow airier, it just flies, I adored this one and the last one tremendously… xoxo from Sharron in Paris

    1. Catherine Hamrick

      Thanks so much, Sharron. I felt the shift, too, starting around June. I like that idea–shedding skin. There’s nothing intentional in the change–just something organic. Tu es si gentille. Bises. Tu me manques!

  2. Leila Lou Baldwin

    I am endlessly stunned by my friend’s ability to transport my soul to times long past, to the innocence of a childhood that exists only in the most time-worn tatters of well-washed scarves fluttering in a warm and comforting breeze—I am transported, I am fed, I am soothed, and I am uplifted by your poetry Catherine, and I thank you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.