The Maier Museum of Art
at Randolph College

“How To Forget The Horizon At Sea Is Even There” by Jessica M. Brophy

William Merritt Chase, The Deserted Beach, 1907, oil on canvas.

William Merritt Chase, The Deserted Beach, 1907, oil on canvas. Gift of the artist, 1916. Collection of the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, founded as Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

after William Merritt Chase’s The Deserted Beach


Pay attention to the crabs.

See the sand pop open like donut holes
when the water rises to your

Watch matter gather in the pools
of your periphery.

Close your eyes and listen to the
foam crackling below the
roar of the sea.

Can you hear the linen
sails clapping?

Only if you’d look up.
You’re watching the clouds
Make shadows
at your feet.

You’re hypnotized by a barrier
to the vision beyond;
black sea kelp is flanking.


Jessica M. Brophy is a New Jersey native and a poet who writes about family quirks, nature’s luster, childhood foods, and the body. She is also a scholar of the sublime and a teacher at Lynchburg College and CVCC. She has published her poetry in Natural Bridge: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry, The Cherry Blossom Review, Polis, and The Penwood Review. Her work is forthcoming in Alimentum Journal and Wine, Cheese and Chocolate: A Taste of Literary Elegance. Her first chapbook, Breakfast for Dinner, describes adult children dealing with the divorce of parents married for thirty-five years. Her second chapbook, The Electricity is Dying, details a conservative white woman falling in love with a rebellious first-born son from Nigeria. Philip Chase, editor of the Journal of New Jersey Poets, finds her work “engaging” and describes “Senseless” (a poem about killing a garter snake with a frying pan) as “especially vivid and provocative.” Monifa Love Asante, writer of Dreaming Underground: Poems (2003) and Provisions (1989), has called Brophy a “fine poet with great promise.” Brophy is Co-Chair of the Library Committee at the First Unitarian Church of Lynchburg where she serves as the creative writing editor of the newsletter. Please contact her at