[Backlit by the glitter-chopped horizon,]

Backlit by the glitter-chopped horizon, each of these 17 Marbled Godwits poking at the tideline must have a heartbeat; every living, perfect Whimbrel, its eyes. The surf is stacked, tilted, as if it were higher than the beach. There is an urgency to turn home, get this assignment of pleasure done, strike it off the list where vanish will be the last task, and then there is the thought of those 17 hearts. Less rain means more salt, anchovies, more whales—a ferment to savor against a distant cloud of Shearwaters above the incessant upwelling.

Copyright © 2023 by Killarney Clary. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 26, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.