Watching Weather

It’s easier than saving a stranded loon,
her leg broken, where she scrambles
away from high tide, and the whole range
of us walks by. “She’s done for.” “Call wild-life
rescue.” “She’s a cormorant.” It’s appraisal
and north always roiling before the eyes
like the villagers gone mad, banging
the metal light poles with rocks, warning
everyone what’s to come. Or who.
The shore line a hundred years ago
farther out than we walk each morning.
A lost limit like snow flakes dissolving
at first touch and remembered crossing into
the Carolinas. This heat, my love, the reason
the world sinks beneath us and we change
channels. We extrapolate. We shed. Think
the past and it rises to meet us. White ibises
lifting themselves into jasmine-scented air.
A thought spreads buoyantly invisible as the
breath of fasting saints, foul, intransigent,
that neither of us inhales forever. Snow
spreading across a TV screen. The lake effect
causeless as the kiss of a stranger.

John Allman | Mudlark No. 31
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