By Edward F. Petersen

Brook and Breen were spending an afternoon together on the beach.

Brook told Breen that she had to move away.

He tried hard not to cry.

But one teardrop escaped down his cheek.

It dripped onto a sunny clam shell
and turned into a wispy ghost.

It flew high into the cold, blue sky,
bloomed into an exquisite ice crystal
and mingled with other crystals inside a cloud
. . . each one different but just as beautiful.

All at once, they plunged together toward the earth.

The teardrop landed on a mountain top.
and laid for a while in the snow
until it melted in the afternoon sun.

It dribbled through a narrow cranny
and seeped deep inside the mountain.

It oozed through a jumble of black coal
and joined a trickle echoing in the darkness.

It bubbled toward a crack of sunlight,
then sprang outside into an overflowing pool.

A bullfrog watched the teardrop disappear down the mountainside
and tumble into a river.

It rolled off a turtle’s shell as he climbed upon a log to sunbathe.

A deer almost sipped it inside her belly.

It swirled for a bit near a boulder.

A bug hitched a swift ride downstream.

By and by, the teardrop’s tour slowed
and there was a thunderous rumpus in the distance.

It plunged over the top of a high waterfall
and dove far down.

It crashed hard onto the rocks below
and splashed way up into the air.

It settled back into a slow current
and meandered peacefully for a long time.

At night, the tiny teardrop reflected the whole moon and the entire sky.

The river gradually widened

A seagull soared above.

The teardrop became part of the ocean.

It just so happened that Breen was taking a lonely dip in the surf that day.

He was bounced by a breaker
and swallowed a mouthful of seawater

 . . . containing the teardrop.

Breen coughed and hobbled out of the waves
and saw Brook running toward him down the beach.

She was smiling.

Brook had moved back
and Breen was exceedingly joyful.

He tried hard not to cry.

But one teardrop escaped down his cheek.