Dawn Paul


The unfinished business of summer,

then autumn brief with heavy rains.

Now comes November.

This gray morning, ten am on a work day.

A gale sixty miles offshore and a full moon tide

have connived to overfill the harbor.

Surge strikes the seawall like a leaden bell

and buries the beach I came to walk.

A flock of brant have come in with the weather,

compact and muscular

sleek black heads and necks at a forward tilt

pure intention.

Separated from what they want

the tender eelgrass down among the mussel beds

by a good fifteen feet of cold water

churned with sand.

How arbitrary it all is. Tides, storms, seasons…

Maybe the brant are just waiting it out.

Maybe they’re using those webbed feet of theirs,

pushing the water out of the harbor as fast as they can.

Either way, the blue-black backs of the mussel beds

will rise in six hours

and the eelgrass will be theirs for the taking.