"Valentine's Day on Coney Island" by Lizzie Frank


Summer mornings sweating in my sheets

Until my water-born baby jumps on the bed

Let’s go! To Coney Island!

On that train ride that curls through Brooklyn

Stopping once a minute

You babble in your bathing suit

Coney Island! I grew up there

Speaking Russian on the streets, Hebrew in the home

I went to Coney Island

Water-born, like you

With a little-girl giggle and a chubby belly

Wearing my t-shirt into the water

In younger summers, all the love I had couldn’t fit in my skin

Couldn’t fit in the ocean, all my friends

On the beach when I dived under a wave curled in a half-heart

I don’t watch for hearts in the clouds anymore, but with you

Every day is Valentine’s Day

You scribble cards I will never send

Meant for relatives that have excommunicated

Me, for bringing you up in a damaged environment

You, for being brought up damaged

To Coney Island we go! I cannot

Swim with you in the water. I stay on the beach

And watch

You splash in the shallow crash

Zone, dig up sand to

Rub in your hair

While I sweat in a hoodie

I can resume wearing binders, according to my GP

But post-pregnancy nipples are sensitive

Probably always will be

The summer of love!

You call me the name you have the most heart for

Momma! Daddy! Come swim!

All the love I had before

Didn’t vanish from me

It is yours now

All the love

I grow

Is for you

Momma! Daddy!

Holding up a shell

You’re in too deep

Baby, too far!



Come get me!

I walk to the border

Of wet sand

A wave inches toward shore

No towel

Bathing suit

Bra or binder

All I have is this love

That used to emit from all parts of me

Now, a spotlight

I slip out of my sandals

Drop my hoodie on top

I’m coming!

Into the ocean

You have your first swim

Paddling toward your momma-daddy

My water-born baby doesn't need my help. All you needed was me.


Lizzie Frank is a writer originally from upstate New York who now lives in Brooklyn and is writing this bio from Poland. He enjoys hiking, swimming, and being with his best friend. Find more of Lizzie’s work in Bear Creek Gazette and Stone of Madness Press.

Twitter: @LizzieF99

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