in his element
Dancing along the shoreline,
he turns an occasional cartwheel
just for the thrill of spinning.
He bursts into song
and his sweet, nimble voice blends with the sea-sounds
the crying of gulls
and the calm, rhythmic tumbling of the waves.
He is by himself. No ship is expected today.
But in time the ship will come,
and he will be ready.
With a finger he traces in the sand a poem he has written for Estë.
He has learned every nuanced shade of all the tongues spoken here;
he can converse with anyone in this land
without feeling the slightest bit awkward.
Someday, he thinks, Sam will, as well, if he’d like.
The thought prompts a wide grin.
He knows better.
Sam will take one look at the gardens,
the unknown flowers and fruits and herbs and trees,
and there will go whatever time he might have spent
Rising, he sees a starfish on the sand.
The tide will soon gather it to safety
but reflex gets the better of him.
He would rather see an animal in its element.
In his small, gentle hands it gleams
coral-pink as the ship of Arien gliding into port
on a bank of iridescent clouds.
He wades waist-deep into the foam.
The starfish clings for a moment to his skin,
tickling him to easy laughter.
Then it drops,
through the long-healed gap in his fingers.