Today's poem is by Robert Cording

Beach Scene

As I'm watching, a man, idly fishing
in front of his ocean-view house,
catches a fish he doesn't need or want
and kills it, and makes it a throw-toy
for his golden retriever that happily swims
to fetch it and bring it back

to the dismay of a gangly heron
that drops down out of nowhere, like
and not like Yeats' immoderate swan, kronking
and flapping its wings; just for fun,
I make the bird a female
and, augmented by its claim—

that misalliance of toy and food—a god
who looks, at least from where I'm standing,
like it's mounting the man's bald head.
On the balcony of their house,
his young wife is laughing
herself out of her too—small bikini top.

The man, confused, then angered
by the bird's insistence, lets the fish lie
in the sand at his feet, his dog barking, wanting
the game to resume; meanwhile, the heron
has staked its claim to the fish—a claim
the man either does not understand or refuses—

and it flies up, then down, calling for justice,
for the fish that lies there, no use to the man,
or even, just now, the dog that dips and flexes on
its front legs and leaps towards the heron,
taken up with this new game.
All the while, the sun is striding down

the beach in great patches of sunlight
and shadow; and now the young woman,
like a Roman empress bored with
the proceedings below, is waving
for her husband to come in,
to bring an end to this unearthly racket.

Copyright © 2012 Robert Cording All rights reserved
from Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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