Only seagulls surround us
on their parameter of hunger,
and seals 
who in their soft-body swim 
roll onto the rocks 
to stretch their skin 
to infinite edges. 
They lie about 
like sleeping infants.
If there are sharks 
they swim beneath sight.
The water 
slides by undisturbed 
and the cold sun slips
through a seam in the clouds.
Persistent wind 
like a child's wailing
cramps our fingers
intertwined like nest twigs. 
The picnic, pocketed into parts,
will wait. 
We will be as those seals,
full-fat on ocean air 
and lying 
beneath the cloud shift
until the tidemark
measures the horizon
and our huddled bodies
take the shape of stones.

Published by The Midwest Quarterly, 2003. Copyright © 1999 by Eva Alice Counsell. Used with permission. All rights reserved.