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The Savior of Starfish - Nancy Manning

For Jesse Lewis (2006-2012),

a Sandy Hook Elementary student


Despite the sun pressing down, the boy rushes the shoreline,

throws dozens of stranded starfish back into the sea.

He wipes his brow, is questioned by the old man

about his actions, but strives to save as many

sea stars as he can before they dry out.


Rescued starfish land into the arms

of the ocean. Float on the water’s ebb

and flow. Each central disk an eye focused

on the sky. Skin spiny, briny, starfish sink to the seabed

where they crawl, feast on snails, microalgae, and sponges.


The boy studies one four-pointed star, barely alive. He closes

his eyes, makes a wish, casts this broken body back into

the water. Months later, it will radiate symmetry--

grow a new limb--while that boy, forever

young in photos, grins, eyes bright. 


Nancy Manning holds an MFA in Poetry from Southern Connecticut State University. Her short stories and poems have appeared in an eclectic mix of publications, most recently Humans of the World, Sad Girl Diaries, Noctua Review and Unmagnolia. Her novel Undertow of Silence won the TAG publishing award; her poetry collections are entitled Amethyst Garden, The Unspoken of Our Days, and What Glues Us Together. She teaches high school English classes. The genre of this submission is poetry.

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