MERMAID by Ruben Briseno Reveles
by Frank C. Praeger
As dwarfs pause disbelieving
and mermaids dumbly listen to stars
and the soil underneath quickens with noise;
a passing over, swollen, gluttonous,
slackens and, further, stops.
Where to go?
Should I do more than crouch?
Follow a stray feather,
in the monotony of each clock.
STONE by Fabio Sassi
PRUFROCK AT THE COAST
by Jeanine Stevens
What little we have ever understood
is like an offering we make beside the sea.
Ursula Le Guin
When you've been too long inland, you wonder
which beach it will be, the crowded one
with no entrance fee, or where you must
scramble down a craggy bluff.
You decide on the flat one, toilets
and a $7 senior discount.
The sign says, "Rip Currents Unsafe!"
You didn't plan on swimming anyway,
just came to walk, sit and watch.
You've heard the sand is good for feet,
cool, soft and spongy, a wet caramel color.
At the far end, waves cracking
dark boulders, you sit in late summer
salt spray, sticky and sweet.
Suddenly aggressive tide laps
and sucks your beach chair.
Returning on cracked shells, stones
and smooth glass, it's slow going but you pick
your way, stimulating, even painful
like a giant pinch or a lit match held
to ascertain consciousness or sleepwalking.
The fog is in, visibility low.
You put on your sandals, pink feet
full of tiny cuts. You attempt to make
a still life, nature morte,
from orange seaweed, a gull's feather,
crab claw, and twisted driftwood,
but the dun colors are too boring,
too reflective of your drab life.
Yet, you were lucky to avoid
sleeper waves and strong backwash.
The feather in its whiteness and strength,
you save between the pages of a book.