Stealing the Ocean

by Maureen Sherbondy

The woman missed the ocean desperately, so she took a drive to view the waves and sand at her favorite North Carolina beach. In a bag, she packed a day’s worth of collected shells, one dead starfish, and a shark’s tooth. The tooth was so sharp that it cut her finger as she set it inside the bag. She also filled a plastic container with sand and a glass vial with salty water.

Every morning before work, she held a shell to her ear, wanting to feel close once again to the ocean. Instead of taking a sleeping pill in the evening, she began listening to the sounds of waves. One night she fell asleep with ocean waves rushing through her ear, the shell resting against an ear lobe.

The sound of water lapping against her bed woke her. Yelling, she squeezed her pillow tightly when she saw sand and water rising in the bedroom.

Reaching for her phone, she dropped it when a shark appeared out of nowhere and swam toward her. When he opened his mouth, revealing one missing tooth, she realized the stolen shark tooth might be what he was after, so she threw it at him.

The last sound she heard before passing out was a chorus of sirens singing, “Thief!”


Maureen Sherbondy‘s most recent poetry book is Dancing with Dali (2020, FutureCycle Press). Lines in Opposition will be published in 2022 (Unsolicited Press). Her young adult novel, Lucky Brilliant, was published in September. She has also published a short story collection and eight other poetry collections. Maureen teaches English at Alamance Community College in Graham, NC.

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