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Writers' Weir: The Best the Day Offered

Posted: January 4, 2017 - 12:01am

Sudden cold wind

blows all the trash cans over

in one mean gust.

Garbage flies all down the street.

All wrong, I think,

as the gulls descend on the presentation

of fluttering gifts spread out conveniently.

They mob in a screaming chaos of glee,

wings beating,

pink and orange bare feet

sliding and dancing on the ice.

Frequent pounding hail squalls

cause the whole flock to lift wings,

gracefully rising to meet the next one,

not seeking shelter

like I do.

Sailing in place, watching

for the next opportunity,

they swoop side to side

on silent stiff wings

cutting the cold air

and the weak winter light

that was the best the day offered.

Hailstones pound their little heads

until they settle, facing the wind,

feathers and attitudes unruffled.

The biggest marbles

are gobbled up casually

with perfect acceptance

of the circumstances.

Everything seems a gift

to scavenger gulls.

A woman stands on the dock,

alone, but gathering a blizzard of gulls.

I can see it from across the harbor.

They know her, and her bag of presents.

Same time every day.

Laura Kaltenstein is a Sitka artist. Her mediums are acrylics, beads, and quilting; she also teaches art to young children, sometimes writes poetry, and has been leading nature tours in Southeast Alaska for more than 20 years.

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