I realize N’s little naked body is too much for the sun chairs where we’re camped out once we come back from the sea. Although I must say their two little sand-covered bodies following me back to the shade – I’ve almost never loved them more. They look like childhood in these moments. Wild and unfettered. Like they’re going to be just fine. Like they belong here. A gecko scuttles past, long whispy toes. And I watch him head off the warm deck into the sand and suddenly I see gecko tracks everywhere. Thousands of lines with small winged marks on either side. Vines of this childhood. It’s not mine but I’m protective of theirs suddenly.
As I convince N to put on her underwear, and she asks why, L says, because no one likes to see naked people. I laughed. I wonder who told him that and in what context. I hear L tell N that his channel in the sand is bigger. She doesn’t respond directly, only says, we live here. We own this beach.’ I hope she’s speaking as a child because in this moment they do.
—Italian children play in sand bathtubs Made from Perrier The bubbly water keeps the beach From drinking it down too fast The spicy froth baths stay full All afternoon long And Italian children bask like Brown fish with colorful underwear Spread out next to their mud pots
From last year when I was a babysitter and went on vacation with the family I was working with.