January 9: Revisiting July 31

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Hope clinging tenaciously
like the burrs on the carpet
on the floor of this beach house,

small impalers, causing us to jump
and curse loudly despite children
sprawled everywhere,

not mine.
We spoke in French,
they said those birds

we saw were not pelicans
but I insisted they were,
these the birds of my childhood

of all my coasts.
Then grown tired
of conjugating tenses

and drinking wine
I just sat silent, listening,
imaging the next day’s drive.

Leaving early,
I woke before dawn,
the house still sleeping,

went down to the beach
where an eagle faced the sea,
faced into the wind

as did I, and it sang,
a chirpy warbling thing
unexpected from a raptor’s beak.

A lone pair of fresh tracks
made straight for the tide line,
a coyote, must have turned,

and only recently out of sight.
On my way out I saw one
of everything,

in the dunes, a velvety buck,
much later a doe, and another
coyote who leaped across

the road and dove into
a field of cranberries,

and I think it’s funny
the hardest things to let go
of are the things

I never had,
just hoped for



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