Poetry
by
Douglas Crotty

North-Central Florida

From: Sometimes We Drift

 

Flow

 

Where do the fish go when we sleep?

Beneath the fresh and brackish waters do they keep?

 

In the estuaries of St. Louis Bay

alligators come and lay in wait for prey.

In the shallow bayous, they stay.

 

The White Egrets and Blue Herons do not fear the gators

it seems, as they pass, preoccupied

betaking themselves to their nests for feedings.

 

The slippery bream do not stop to press their luck

and the mussels do not appear to believe they will come unstuck

from the weathered poles of old piers in which they are embedded.

 

I sit, bobbing in my kayak, in the back bay chop

as a seabird invites itself to stop and ride my bow.

 

I can almost touch the clouds now.

 

I lean back and balance my paddle on my sunburned thighs

as the wind picks up.

 

And I close my eyes.

From: Sometimes We Drift

 

Beyond the Headlines

 

I could not escape

the peculiar stench

of the garbage

and still-full refrigerators

and molded furniture

and waterlogged sheetrock

coming through

the A/C vent

as I passed

the post Katrina

debris fields

 

A heavy gull

labored and flapped

against the rain cloud sky

making its snow white wings

flash against the dark

background

like a flying Morris Code

signaling to save us

from our private

Armageddon

Stray Dog

 

A Spanish looking man

with a puff-eyed face

and tanned rough hands

inside black jean pockets

walked sideways toward me.

 

 

I sipped a bottle of spring water

and stared deliberately, yet indifferently

at him,

 

freezing his intrusive gaze.

 

 

He looked up at me,

looked away,

then down;

 

then, looked up at me

again,

and sat down with his back to me.

 

 

What was he worrying about,

or what was he hiding from?

 

What was he ashamed to admit,

or unwilling to give up

about himself?

 

 

He reminded me of a stray dog:

attentive, but distrusting,

unwilling to express

and skeptical about the world

through which he hurriedly wandered,

fighting for every unpredictable outcome

of each uncertain day.

My tired eyes drooped

as I nodded into my book.

 

I yawned,

and extended my legs,

then locked my hands, split-fingered,

while stretching my arms out in front of me,

and measured the halfway point

of my layover

by the airport wall clock.

 

 

The Spanish looking man

propped a quilted jacket

against the seat back,

preparing, I supposed,

to steal a moment’s peace,

a crumb of comfort.

 

 

I watched him

as his head ratcheted downward

in slow motion,

nearer and nearer

his waiting shoulder,

 

as if it allowed him to rest

from the wolves of torment;

 

keeping them at bay

to gain some strength

 

before

another challenge,

soon.

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