Mary Ardery


This year the weather didn’t cooperate,
and on the darkening beach, Susannah called it
an innocent murmur.

           The one they’d heard in her heart, that is.

Chronic angst was the joke
diagnosis she gave herself, and we all agreed
it could have been worse: like the time

           lightning struck and she liquefied. 

Then Alice noticed a fleshy lump
in the tide. Camille called it a sea cucumber
and plucked it from froth to bring closer.

            Innocent. Murmur. 

A rogue wave rushed at our folding chairs’ legs,
and despite the lifeguard’s double-red flag,
Susannah decided to go for a swim.

           Of course, we all followed her in.


Mary Ardery is currently pursuing her MFA at Southern Illinois University. You can find more of her work in Unlost Journal, A Midwestern Review, Manuscripts, and other journals.

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