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Hiking Toward Laughing Gull Point


ISSUE:  Autumn 1981
Once I saw a gull catch a line in mid-air.
Climbing until the slack ran out,
it snapped back like a white feather on the end of a whip
and fell into the sea.

We’ve all swallowed a line or two,
a real estate deal, some bad investment of faith,
or so I tell myself as I walk
past the fishermen casting their cut shrimp on the water,

the overweight women wading in the surf,
the tower where the boy lifeguard hangs against the blue sky
and dreams behind his sunglasses a dream of salvation.

And as I near the same sandy point
I hike toward every year, stand at the edge of the wing-
flutter, my white skin burning red, the sun
bleaching what’s left of my hair,
I think how the point keeps drifting farther away
like some water-mirage or a piece of land
in a speculator’s dream. How each year I search out
the dream vacation, only to find myself
feeling more like some gull climbing toward the edge
of an island, a hook, the end of the line.

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