Seagull Memory

Seagulls sit
On the shore and wait for the tide
To wash them away
When they are ready
To die.

My father told me so
Long, long ago.

That is why you see them 
Looking left and right crouched
In the sun,
And all the while the tide creeps in
And strokes with a gentle monotony
Against the puffed up and gleaming chests
Of very old seagulls.

It is a decent thing,
To know when to die.

It's easy to forget this 
About seagulls
When they are swooping and screaming
Above our mountains of rubbish,
Indignant, perhaps,
At what the hunt has become.

But seagulls know.
They die listening to the ocean
Pulling against the stones on the beach.
The steady chiming on the wet pebbles
Is enough,

And the clanging of rigging and masts
Like taps
On the breeze.

This summer I have been going through papers my Dad left me along with my own boxes and trunks of written memorabilia, drafts, and published works.  In the process, I came across this piece, which the magazine Kimera (Seattle, WA) published in January 2000. 

It's the right piece for right now and for Dad.  He taught me plenty, and the papers he left behind teach me whenever I have the courage to look.  I love him, and I miss him.

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  1. I love and appreciate you. And miss my dad too.


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