Shark Attack with Missing Sister

In my memory my mother is
in the shallows, maybe
shin-deep, swishing minnows 
into a blue bucket.
In my older memories my sister 
was helping, because she was;
but we don’t speak anymore, so
now she isn’t. At least,
now I don’t remember it
that way.

In my mother’s memory,
the next thing that happens  
is an open mouth. She pulls 
my sister, who isn’t there,
from the sea. She screams. 
How long have there been sharks 
at this beach? 
In tidal memory, immutable 
as the moon’s true shape: 

Despite her scream, everyone remains
in the water. Except me, 
and my sister, because she isn’t there. 
I watch the spot 
where the mouth opened
into teeth
until the breakers are opened
by a fin.
This is the last time I swim
in an ocean, or anywhere.

Everyone knows the moon’s phases 
except for the moon, who can only watch 
tides change. I remember that the sharks 
were always there, though my sister
was not. Regardless, I don’t swim
and we don’t speak 
at all anymore.

Photo by Vicko Mozara on Unsplash