French Fries, Ketchup, and Motorboats

(Published in Bubble, Online Literary Magazine)

I never thought I would miss my hometown

or the fifty-cent bus ride 

to the white sands of Jones Beach 

we met friends 

at the designated lifeguard stand 

salt and stray strands of seaweed 

in our hair

we crowded tables at the beachfront diner

pressed shoulders 

shivered in wet bathing suits

smeared ketchup on our fries

a taste I can no longer separate 

from my memory of the ocean’s spray

I never thought I would miss the marina 

where our father took us 

for spins across the tide in the Runabout 

catching reflections on broken blue glass

inhaling the freshness of caught fish 

sitting on the bow and wading ashore

to gather wild blackberries 

in winter our father drydocked the boat 

set us to work applying putty 

to cracks in the hull 

stood nearby and watched 

asked if his face was weather-beaten 

enough to impress Hemingway

I never thought I would miss the motorboat

my brother bought 

though I seldom rode in it 

watched him grow 

navigate life 

as he stood at the helm 

and conquered the waves

I never thought I would miss the universe’s voice

since Harpocrates embraced me— 

easy access to friendship

emotional closeness 

sharing of opinions 


all now require much effort 

these days I live far from the beach 

far from people 

even when I’m near them 

then someone smiles 

with the warmth of my hometown— 

tells me repeating a comment is no trouble at all

Recent Reviews

Impressively original, exceptionally charming, fully entertaining, and with an important message about the importance of the acceptance of difference for children ages 5-8, "Who Wants to be Friends With a Dragon?" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Midwest Book Review

This book is an awesome, welcome addition to my little children’s library. Should be picked up by therapists, teachers, parents and grandparents if they want their children to learn to accept and socialize with other children different from them. Couldn’t ask for a better book to share with my little friends.

Amazon Customer

The story follows a timid dragon that wishes to leave his current world and make new acquaintances. The book can be used to teach children about not being judgmental of others and how a single act of kindness can go a long way toward building great relationships.

Nothing But Picture Books

"There are multiple teachable moments within “Who Wants To Be Friends With A Dragon” for parents and teachers to expand upon. I believe this book will make an exceptional addition to any school, church, daycare, or family library."

Read Reviews Kids

Linda Drattell’s latest poetry collection is a reflection born out of resilience… tenacity, healing, dealing with unexpected trials and contemplating the wonder of everyday life… Her poems honor the precious bonds with loved ones …I like to revisit her words, to savor them in silence or share them…

Julia Hone