Beneath the Laughing Gulls

"The important thing in life is to let the years carry us along." Federico Garcia Lorca, Yerma"

This evening I press my ear to your chest,
hear the ocean's waves and laughing gulls
that reside inside, distant laughter of children
you've made fast friends, your voice
calling Mother, come look!"

Close my eyes, see you walk a mermaid's path,
white frothy sea foam and iridescent bubbles
slowly fade and pop as morning's surf recedes,
tears glistening as you mourn their death.

Wrap myself around you, whelk like,
my shell far too fragile for true protection.
Realize tears are as important as laughter
yet my heart bangs along the shore,
chipped and worn, fighting for a journey
resembling my dreams perhaps more than yours.

And there's the fissure as you turn
and take the covers with you surely as decisively
as the tide reclaims what is hers. Always.

So, I settle upon the porch, chastised a bit,
yet revel in the sounds I've heard,
know you are alive and growing,
tumbling along life's shoreline
beneath the laughing gulls.

by Margaret Bednar, March 29, 2018

Coney Island

Before the clamor and confusion of mid-day,
before shadows slant lean and low
and seagulls dive-bomb a littered beach,

I gaze down the grey-boarded walk
bejeweled with brightly colored umbrellas
and awnings hawking lobster rolls, soft serve, and beer.

It's a calm before the storm, a respite;
ghostlike. As if I look hard enough,
I'll transport back in time

when five cents gypsied one down the tracks
to a beachside breeze, promise of a Nathan's frank,
and a Steeplechase thrill.

Electro Spin and Sea Side Swing seem overshadowed
by Wonder Wheel's grace (that's probably still the same)
and Classic Rock rolls its rhythm

as Carousel and Thunderbolt act as grand sentinels.
I'm eventually drawn to the beach
dotted with small shaded oasis's, crowded with coolers & chairs.

"Cold Coronas, Cotton Candy!, Snow Cones".
"Get it!, Get it!" and I buy two umbrellas for $20,
my refuge beneath a partially cloudy sky,

close my eyes as a life guard's whistle blows,
children laugh, bicker, cry
and Latino hip hop filters from over my left shoulder.

by Margaret Bednar, 07/01/2019