Nothing as a Minnow

To the ocean, my daughter is as nothing as a minnow
darting streaks through the flat surf. I hold
both of her hands to deliver her from collapsing

waves content to swallow her, grind her
to sand and tunnel her down to the ocean’s
bile. In case of rip tide, remain calm. Swim

with the current, exit through a fallopian tube—
unless you are a toddler, hell-bent on winning
the sea, fighting to lose my grasp. I used to dive

through waves with eyes open and come out
on the other side, standing up to shout—
is that the best you’ve got?