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changing of the tides - Emma Conlon

i. by sun

I follow your footsteps down to the shore,

your golden hair waving in the sea breeze.

you sway with the crashing waves

and smile, dimpling those sandy freckles

that speckle your face, a constellation

softened by time—

sand trickling through an hourglass.

these precious hours we spend

unearthing poseidon’s hidden treasures:

flotsam, jetsam,

seaglass and shark teeth,

pretty bits of twine

twirling through pink seashell fingertips,

tangible, intangible bonds,

sailing knots that tie us together,

like this, you say—just so.

you draw me in with those tide pool eyes

and I test the waters, dip a toe in

hoping to steal a glimpse

of starfish, sea snails,

fish flickering in those shallow depths.

but again I lean in too close,

the ripples giving way to frenzied splash

as we fall into each other once more,

sending sculpins scuttling for cover.

ii. by moon

dreams float, soft as seafoam,

gulls on the wind.

your breath is steady as the tide.

crests and troughs, you rise and fall

with the waves beyond the milky white

salt-battered windows.

in sleep, your stormy seas are calm,

illuminated by moonbeams

stealing through the gauzy curtains.

I paint this scene in my mind in

swirling watercolor blues and greens.

you stir, and bring me close to you—

I am complete again.

as eyelids grow heavy with sand,

I reflect on those stolen nights

we spent together in the dunes,

soft sand still warm between our toes

as you guided me through rippling grass,

moonlight reflected on the dark water

of your eyes, gentle as the midnight tide.

you dried my ocean-water tears

with every moonlit smile;

sail away, sail away sailor—

I still think of you every time

I shake the sand from my shoes.


EMMA CONLON (she/her) is an emerging poet and a recent graduate of the University of Virginia. Her work is published or forthcoming in Eunoia Review, Pen & Pendulum, Red Noise Collective, Merak Magazine, Sweet Lit, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry collection, Changing of the Tides & Other Poems, was self-published in 2022. Find more of her work at and most social media platforms @byemmaconlon.

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