End of the work day, sun setting,
park my car by the stream,
walk along the banks, stop to watch
minnows gather in the stillness.
On the other side, a woodchuck
gets in the last few mouthfuls of grass
before shadows nudge him back to his den.
Same with the rabbits that nibble
in the safety of near-invisibility.
The sky is shedding the last of the blue.
Birds hunker down in nests or roosts.
The darkness encourages a bat or two.
A firefly launches its brief but brilliant
appeal to the opposite sex.
End of my work day, beginning of so
many others. A racoon. A fox.
A couple of teenagers, arm in arm,
strolling in my direction.
I hold a place for them
until they reach where I am standing.
Watching the loggerheads
This April night, the tiny loggerheads
are on the move from nest to ocean.
I watch with flashlight from the rocks above
as so many scramble through sea-grass and sand,
cruelly exposed to predators like gulls
and the owls of the salt marsh, who dive and grab
the hatchlings, devour them brutally, quickly,
so they can get on with pillaging some more.
The birds squawk with unholy pleasure,
for the pickings are splendid, numerous,
enough to feed themselves and family,
gorge themselves in case of famine ahead.
Most turtles do not survive this precarious marathon.
Only the lucky few waddle into foam, float and flap
their flippers, disappear into the belly of the waves
and more danger from big and hungry fish.
So why am I here, witness to kill after kill,
taking the loggerhead’s side but in awe of their killers?
It’s painful to see persistence go so cruelly unrewarded,
but I can’t equate survival with murder.
Enough turtles will defy long odds, return in adulthood
to ply the sand with thousands more eggs.
It may look like a bloody, violent shooting gallery.
But even the targets get a prize at the end.
He was no good loss
Your ex-husband was a thief
you tell me
though the stuff the cops found
stashed under some sheets
in the back of your trailer
was hardly an embarrassment of riches –
at least, he didn’t involve you,
signed a statement proclaiming
you knew nothing of the robbery –
but he did involve you –
you were now the wife
of a convicted felon –
he didn’t serve time for what he did
having no prior record
or, at least, never having been caught before,
so you served time for him,
working two waitress jobs to get by
because nobody would hire him –
the highlight of your day
was changing from your grubby pink diner outfit
to the all-demure-black of the Italian restaurant –
his time was spent drinking and watching TV –
and then he left you
because some fool woman
was dumb enough to be impressed by
flabby muscles and tasteless tattoos –
and you cried, you admit,
embarrassed for being upset at losing
what anyone in their right mind
would be ecstatic to be rid of –
that’s what comes of your life
being made of other people,
is your slant on it –
they leave and you’re
suddenly adrift, depleted –
yes, he was a thief
even when he wasn’t stealing.