Monday, October 26, 2009



Waves policed the sand to call
me criminal. I played their game: stole
shells for my table, climbed the stones
with loot. Weed hands obliged. Salt
stung my knuckles pink with guilt
but laws like moon and slant prevailed.

One bird above me, shell in hand
(no shell I'd mount for smiles, yet,
loaded as it was with ooze and meat,
a famous jewel), circled in raid,
his wing acknowledging I'd run
from tailing tides in tribute to his greed.

These to him were crucial:
aim and height, hard target, his corkscrew fall
to where the take lay broken for his meal.

No sound of water fought my social
claim: a dipping wing when he, black
felon, aimless dropped his felony on rock.

                                                                                                 -Richard Hugo

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