Playing with Tiger Sharks on the Missile Range

We were shrewd on an adventure, like Huck Finn.
She was six, I was eight. We set out to hike
the entire boomerang of the island. We took
peanut butter sandwiches in a purple bandana,
flip-flopped to the rocks

at ocean’s edge. My sister and I knew
our matching denim with stars had superpowers,
like Wonder Woman, so we climbed, our spindly
legs slipping. We knew the glistening indigo spikes

of the sea urchin, the orange and blue-splotched coral,
the dark manta shadow, knew the sea
held shell-encrusted Treasure Island chests of gold.
How thrilled we were to spot the shiny fin

of a little tiger shark, a friend
like Baloo, Bagheera, the striped body undulating
in the clear Micronesian water, so close
we could almost touch it, then another. Another.

We were captivated that they followed us,
impressed by our daring plan, wanting to play.
If we’d seen a flash of light, say, over nearby Bikini,
an immense boiling mushroom over the sea,
we would have looked for Alice’s caterpillar.