Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The last father, the last mother,

by  Joe Cottonwood

the last two boys and one little girl
toddle over sand to their old sedan
leaving me alone on this beach beyond sunset
—oops not alone. One seagull sits in swash
tickled by foam. Sits. Something wrong.

She wobbles to stand on one leg. Flops
beak-first into wet sand. Stuck.
She’d asphyxiate but in awkward struggle
frees her beak and hops one-legged,
washed by creeping edges of surf
which the ocean deals, and deals again.
Now she sits. Can she float? Can she fly?
Is she in pain? How did she lose one leg?

Could I capture? Take her home?
Google how to feed a seagull,
nurse her, hope she heals?
Do I want a seagull in my house
squawking at my dog, pooping on my bookshelves,
flapping in my kitchen?
Post-sunset is ironically pretty, a trout-blend of color.
A cold wind, salt smearing eyeglasses.
A rogue wave icy water to my ankles.
Where did she go? I’m surrounded
by carcasses of crabs, mounds of mussel shells,
saucer sand dollars. Surrounded by death
which the ocean deals, and deals again.
Where did she go?

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