By Amy Reece

Dear Jacqueline,

May I call you Jacqueline?
Or would you prefer,
Ms. Woodson?

Either way,

I find myself

by your verse
into novels
about a life 
I never lived

Although our years align.

I hear my father saying,
		You stay away from them.
I hear my mother saying,
		We don’t let those kind on our beach.
I hear my grandmother saying,
		Boy, oh Boy, you’ve missed the Japanese beetle on my favorite rose.

Somehow ashamed,
I watch the ancient, raisened gardener 
tipping cap and hobbling near 
to pluck offending bugs 
from haughty flowers.

when my family are off
playing golf 
lunch at the club 
and cocktails, always cocktails

I imagine my fingers twined beneath hot sand
through delicious brown fingers 
of the boy my age
who works raking stones from the sand.
Who smiles shyly from beneath 
a faded Red Sox cap,

watching Me. 

Standing, I stretch my thirteen year old body tall 
to fill my sagging swimsuit.
And walk away,
glancing back over sun-red shoulders
to see him following


Towards the town beach we call Inkwell.

A name given to a place where 
black children are free to
run laughing and gasping into the
crisp Atlantic
while doting parents escape
hot summer rays
under striped umbrellas
sipping cool drinks through bright straws.

Where my mother’s friends don’t
sit in rows of knitting and gossip,
courtroom jurys ready to scream
out verdicts of Guilty

At me.

Suddenly, he’s beside me.
Together we run,
knees high,
through crystal-blue waves,
To where hermit crabs and blowfish
and starfish

in freedom.

Dripping rivulets of salty sea
we lie on our backs
side by side,
towels stretched close.

Hands dig into sand
fingers touch,
at first.

There is no color under sand,
just one hot palm
pressed against

There is no Me.

A song of heat,
closed eyes.
bodies rigid with the
newness of 
hand exploring hand.

Breath quick,
heart quicker,

Until we feel a shadow
hear a throat clear.

Opening my eyes I see
the disapproving shake of
someone’s mama’s head,
dark hands on broad hips.

Boy! Boy! Watcha doin’ boy?

Now, girl,  you get on back 
With your own kind
And leave my boy alone.

Staring down at Me.

Face, shame-hot,
I leap and run
towards my own kind.

Glancing back, 
I see
still seated on his towel
brown knees hugged close,
ebony eyes 

following Me.

Somehow, I know
tomorrow there will be 
a different
boy to rake the sand.

My heart

for Us.

So you see, Jacqueline,
our lives
carry some
parallel sorrows

Thank you for your verse,
Thank you for your prose.


Amy Reece was born on a stormy March night in upstate New York.  She grew up strong and creative with her three athletic brothers who teased her into being the person she is today. While teaching therapeutic riding, elementary school English, and ending her career in a high school therapeutic classroom, Amy earned her masters in special education and an MFA in creative writing. She has one published novel and is working on her next one while taking breaks to write Children’s Books.  

Amy’s home with her husband Doug on Martha’s Vineyard Island is the perfect spot for living the author’s life and making her writing dreams come true.


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