When you ask me of the sea, living, as I do, fifteen miles from the nearest ocean, it is not the sandy beaches of Hutchinson Island I recall, nor the crowded sandbox that is Fort Lauderdale’s beach.
If you ask me of the sea, it is perched on the horizon, far in the distance, looking out of the kitchen window, or perhaps that of the library, over the yard, with its deflated soccer ball, the fence, and finally to the Irish Sea, cloud shrouded at the horizon.
This is what Lloyd George saw each day, so it is little wonder eschewed burial in London or even England for this hidden estate in his beloved Ty Newydd in Wales.
First published in Dreich, Issue 10, Autumn 2020 (Scotland)
I approach it slowly, overcome by fear and desire, warned to step carefully over the uneven earth that on this hillside haven set behind the rusting wrought iron fence , its master lock dangling askew, peers out through the trees to the Kanawha river flowing unknowingly through the valley.
The stone is set in line with the others, neatly incised, a name, English and Hebrew, two petunias, cornered, in perpetual bloom, a beloved sister and aunt, and unstated, unknown perhaps, a mother whose son, gently touching the stone, washes her with my tears, and we speak of love in silence, and I, a child of sixty-seven, embrace my mother for the first time, and I am finally and for the first time, complete
The finches sweep from bush to feeder in a gentle inverted parabola appear head high with a pride reserved for those who fly. The chain link fence is for them no barrier but a honeycomb of perches, full on a warm February afternoon, their song threatening to silence the heart of winter.
They clearly don’t get it and odds are they never will. They think perhaps prayer will work or youth will provide some sort of immunity, maybe an executive decree, good luck with that given the swinging there to that old White House, with the ridiculous spiked fence in the middle of an avenue named first state that’s actually a Commonwealth. They can’t imagine I have a list And all I do is make pickups and drop offs, no thinking, no planning just show up, tie up to the pier and then it’s off down and across the River all day and night, in and out for a payment you ‘llonly make begrudgingly, as if I care, for I have a family to feed too, remember.
Late in the night a train rolled by through the city, a few miles down the hill from here, its horn muted but still required at crossings. I know it appeared in my dreams, but I cannot tell if it was as the heron in flight over the lake, or the long bearded hiker with the oversize backpack who wandered down our street and became a slat in the fence at the dead end.