A war's flames came and went,
leaving its guide maps and museums.
We come to walk in the sand
where the soldiers once ran
and the surf comes in
like a tousled sheet.
The only shrapnel now is the sea's
and the traffic along D 123,
the only gun my son's finger.
Some locals come out with pitchforks
and buckets to scoop up clams
before the clams bury themselves for cover.
The sun breaks through the clouds,
and the waters blaze gold between the sand cusps.
Above are some concrete art-decoish pillboxes,
German gunneries that still stud the green hills.
Farther above, the long green lawn
of the American cemetery.
``It's fun to run in this wind,''
says my son, past the lines of white crosses
and Stars of David like candles in formation.
He tosses pine cones at me.
If mine hit him he lies down
with arms and legs spread into a star.
We get up and push on to another beach
where the sea can be just the sea again.