Beached

by Laura Polley
Desert Moon Review
First Place, September 2007
Judged by Deborah Bogen


I have put on a dress,
salted at the hemline

where the little waves
tug my ankles and run.

I can see the twitching
of the boardwalk from here.

Seagulls and tourists:
all bark and push.

Wind arranges everything.

A mime shouts opinions
from his personal cage.

I admire his courage.

There is melody in silence.
There’s an instinct of trees

nestled sad as a woodlouse
in those boardwalk veins.

I have put on a dress.

I am walking a coastline
between earth and invitation,

where strange heavy birds
carry human sounds away.


This poem takes description to the level of invocation as it creates a serious need in the reader to know the import of "I have put on a dress", a simple phrase now heavy with something we can neither name, nor turn away from. The poet's sure touch when portraying tourist and seagulls as "all bark and push" and the mime as shouting from "his personal cage" lull us into a calm which becomes oddly ominous as the poem closes with "I am walking a coastline/ between earth and invitation/where strange heavy bird/carry human sounds away." --Deborah Bogan

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