Today's poem is by K. A. Hays


The sea, for now, is a blue swag
on the land's shelf. The gulls hold out
their wings to catch gusts, hover, swoop,
pick fish off the water—I will not come too close
to see the fish wide-eyed as they're eaten.

I'd rather enjoy the white feathers on the blue,
safe as embroidery. I am doing for the gulls
what a god would do for us: standing outside.

I am squinting; I am smiling at the distant shapes.
The woman at the shoreline in a red suit
bends to cup the water over her knees.

She is washing off sand. The red of suit,
the flex of arm, the blue of sea—
why should there be a god?

Next to the woman is a rusted pipe
that brought in sand to make a larger shoreline—
good. We adults spread out. We sniff the breeze
as a toddler wails and rubs his eyes. All over the beach
we rub our eyes silently, weep sandy tears,
squint, blink at the gulls. Better not to cry out.

We have learned, sitting here, doing
what the dependable gods would have done,
that wailing will do little good. The day is fine.

Copyright © 2009 K. A. Hays All rights reserved
from Southern Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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